If it’s not Sustainable, its condition is Terminal.

October 31, 2014

¶   The most recent reported status of US nuclear power plants can be found at the US Nuclear Power Report. It is a distressingly dull digest of information from the NRC, posted most weekdays and Saturdays, most recently on October 31. Latest information is that out of 100 US reactors, 6 were at reduced output and 12 were not operating.

¶   By NRC reckoning, Vermont Yankee (VY) is currently running at 89% of its allowed capacity, as power is being ramped down to shutdown in December. At that figure, plant is nevertheless operating at above original design capacity.

¶   Video: Energy Week with George Harvey and Tom Finnell (though without Tom Finnell, who fortunately is on the mend) – October 30

geoharvey is one of George Harvey’s Blogs.


October 31 Energy News

October 31, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “Green Tech Can Soon Meet 100% Of Global Energy Needs” We don’t need fossil fuels anymore. Many would argue that the reason we can’t stop burning fossil fuels and address climate change is that our modern civilization can’t continue without them. This is a myth that must be busted soon, given the rapid advance of climate change. [Huffington Post]

World:

¶   Solar energy is a must for Saudi Arabia if the kingdom wants to maintain its high standard of living, according to the Executive Director of the Saudi Electricity Company. He said if Saudi Arabia continued on its present consumption rate without developing solar power, a great opportunity to develop renewable energy would be lost. [Chinatopix]

¶   Northern Power Systems of Barre, Vermont has commissioned four of its NPS 100 wind turbines as part of a South Korean island hybrid energy project. The 100 kW turbines are in a hybrid system with solar, storage, and diesel to provide power at $.25 per kWh, a substantial saving for customers. [AltEnergyMag]

¶   Earlier this year, the Denmark’s leadership announced that it planned to phase out coal by 2030 and run its economy entirely on renewable power by 2050. Soon after, the Danish government reported that wind was becoming far cheaper than fossil fuels. Now, it says it wants to kill coal in ten years, not fifteen. [Motherboard]

¶   Siemens’ Wind Power and Renewables Division has received two new orders for onshore wind projects in Ontario, Canada. The contracts include the supply, installation and commissioning of a total of 137 wind turbines rated at 2.3 MW. Pattern Development will receive 91 turbines and Suncor Energy will take 47. [AltEnergyMag]

¶   GDF Suez has struck a deal with a community wind farm on the Isle of Lewis, off the coast of Scotland, to buy all the electricity generated from it. The Power Purchase Agreement with Beinn Ghrideag windfarm is the first such agreement of its kind with a community owned renewable generator. [Energy Voice]

¶   Preparatory works for the installation of the 7-MW oil pressure drive-type wind turbine on the three-column semi-sub floater at Onahama port, Fukushima, are almost completed, and delivery of the floater from Nagasaki to Onahama started on Thursday as part of the second term of the project. [The Maritime Executive]

¶   The UK Secretary for Energy and Climate Change, the chairman of Iberdrola, and the energy executive vice president of Dong opened West of Duddon Sands offshore windfarm. The €2 billion wind facility, developed Iberdrola subsidiary ScottishPower Renewables, was commissioned over two months ahead of schedule. [Your Renewable News]

¶   Renewable energy projects reached an installed capacity of 4,725 MW in Romania. Wind parks totaled 2,805 MW, along with 1,245 MW of solar, 574 of micro-hydropower, and 101 MW of biogas. New projects have added some 400 MW of installed capacity in the first nine months of the year. [Romania-Insider.com]

¶   The French Interior Minister said the government has begun investigating drones flying above as many as 10 French nuclear power plants this month. The French office of the environmental activist group Greenpeace has denied any connection to the drone flights and denounced the lack of security. [Ars Technica]

US:

¶   To make the Model S more affordable, Tesla made a new deal with US Bank to offer more favorable lease terms, lowering the lease cost by as much as 25%. The new lease now comes with a “happiness guarantee” that lets customers return the car after three months if they’re not totally satisfied. [CleanTechnica]

¶   During the eight-month period from January through August, the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in the Mojave Desert generated 254,263 MWh of electricity, according to US Energy Information Administration data. That’s roughly 38% of the power output that had been anticipated. [RenewablesBiz]

¶   New Hampshire has approved Palmer Capital’s 14.25-MW Jericho Mountain wind project in Coos County. The state executive committee voted in favor of a $4 million bond to help finance the fully-permitted project, which will employ 5 GE 2.85-MW turbines. Jericho Mountain is expected to come online in 2015. [reNews]

¶   The next step in a years-long drive for North Myrtle Beach to become the offshore wind energy capital of South Carolina will begin next month, when Coastal Carolina University, the University of South Carolina, and others begin assessing the quality of areas in off the coast of South Carolina for the development of wind farms. [SCNow]


October 30 Energy News

October 30, 2014

Thoughts on Science and Technology:

¶   “Wind Power Is Cheaper, More Reliable, Than Natural Gas” There is a lesson to be learned from the debate in Australia and the analysis it produces: Not only is traditional fossil generation intermittent – and dangerously so – but the intermittency of some renewables is simply not a problem. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶   British energy regulator Ofgem announced Monday its plans to allow £1.1 billion in funding for a new subsea transmission link in the north of Scotland to connect 1.2 GW of renewables capacity to the grid. The plan calls for a new subsea cable to be installed under the Moray Firth with completion expected in 2018. [CleanTechnica]

¶   A 10-MW canal top solar power plant has been installed in the Indian city of Vadodara, over a Narmada river canal branch. The total capital cost of the system has been about $15 million. The same engineering firm that managed design and construction provide operation and maintenance for 25 years for $1.6 million. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Siemens Canada Limited has confirmed an agreement to supply turbines to Suncor Energy’s 100-MW Cedar Point wind farm in OntarioThe manufacturer will deliver and install 46 SWT 2.3-MW 113 direct drive turbines to the project. The deal includes a two-year service and maintenance agreement. [reNews]

¶   JinkoSolar announced that it will supply 19 MW of solar modules for a PV project in Chile’s Atacama Desert region, which has one of the highest irradiation levels in the world. The 19 MW solar power plant is expected to generate about 50,000 MWh of electricity annually, about what 30,000 local households use. [AltEnergyMag]

¶   Germany can expect to see its greenhouse gas emissions fall this year as a result of a drop in energy demand and increased renewables investment, according to researchers at AG Energiebilanzen. They predicted that energy consumption in 2014 in Germany will be at its lowest since the country’s reunification in 1990. [Business Green]

¶   Germany is considering removing some of its coal plant capacity as part of a raft of new policies to help meet greenhouse gas emissions goals. On 3 December, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet is to decide on a programme that is likely to include steps to boost energy efficiency and possibly reduce coal generation. [EurActiv]

¶   In the first-ever delay in the plans to dismantle reactor 1 at TEPCO’s stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, the government and the utility have agreed to postpone the removal of fuel rods from the spent-fuel pool by two years from the initial plans, NHK reported Thursday. [The Japan Times]

US:

¶   Xcel said last week that it has made deals with three energy developers to build as many as three huge solar power farms in Minnesota, which could result in almost 200 MW of new power coming online by 2016. Xcel is the biggest power company in Minnesota, with 1.2 million customers. [Hydrogen Fuel News]

¶   The future of rooftop solar energy in Louisiana could hang in the balance in the November 4 election race.  The chairman of the  Public Service Commission is a favorite of utility companies, which give his campaign hundreds of thousands of dollars. His opponent is a renewable energy advocate. [Alexandria Town Talk]

¶   Rooftop solar PV systems have reached grid parity – which means it costs the same or less than getting electricity from the power grid – in 10 US states. According to the latest report of the solar energy analyst at Deutsche Bank, by 2016, solar rooftop will reach grid parity in all 50 US states. [Treehugger]

¶   Exelon Corp has stepped up lobbying in its effort to have state legislators reward the company’s six nuclear plants in Illinois for producing electric power without emitting greenhouse gases. Three of the plants could be closed because of competition. Environmentalists, however, say nuclear power is not clean. [Chicago Tribune]


October 29 Energy News

October 29, 2014

Words to Remember:

¶   “Every­thing is im­pos­sible until it is done,” says an official of the German region of Rhein-Hunsruck. The district uses wind, sol­ar, bio­mass and hy­dro sup­ply 177% of its elec­tri­city, and sells the sur­plus. C02 emis­sions have fall­en by 64% since 1990 and the economy has $50 million per year more than it had. [Edmonton Journal]

Science and Technology:

¶   A draft of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Synthesis report warns of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts. To keep the temperature from rising above the 2° threshold, net global emissions of carbon must drop 40-70% by 2050, hitting zero by the end of the century. [International Business Times UK]

World:

¶   The results of India’s latest solar auction are in, and it is bad news for developers of Australian coal projects – solar PV is cheaper for Indian users than the electricity price needed to pay for imports of coal from Australia. The low bids were below $0.09/kWh, at a price at which coal imports are not economically viable. [RenewEconomy]

¶   China is on course this year to build four times the total wind power installed in all of Denmark as developers push to build the turbines ahead of cuts to incentives originally designed to spur the industry. The nation may add as much as 20 gigawatts of wind power in 2014 and maintain that pace next year. [Businessweek]

¶   While home owners in regional locations of Australia often make a choice to go off-grid, particularly those who have to pay a high connection fee for new homes, it is becoming increasingly clear that taking some towns and villages off the grid may also be a better solution. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Poor nations are adding capacity from renewable energy projects at nearly twice the rate of developed countries, a new interactive report found. The surge reflects the economic advantage that cleaner technologies have in emerging markets with expanding populations and economies. [International Business Times]

¶   Europe is on track to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 24% by 2020 from 1990 levels, four percentage points higher than its goal, the European Environment Agency reported. The bloc was also on its way to meet the target of having renewable sources account for at least 20% of energy needs by 2020. [Channel News Asia]

¶   With increasing integration of wind power and conversion of CHP plants to use biomass, around 71% of Denmark’s electricity supply will be renewable by 2020, compared to 43% in 2012. Denmark is also close to meeting the Danish national targets of reducing carbon emissions by 40% by 2020. [Copenhagen Capacity]

US:

¶   The Post Carbon Institute has released a report, “Drilling Deeper,” which examines Energy Information Administration’s forecasts for 12 shale plays that  together cover 82% of tight oil and 88% of shale gas production. It says the EIA is almost certainly overstating the amount of oil the plays can produce. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Renewable energy sources accounted for 40.61% of all new US electrical generating capacity put in service during the first three quarters of this year, according to the latest Energy Infrastructure Update report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Only natural gas provided more new generating capacity. [North American Windpower]

¶   NRG Energy and MGM Resorts International announced that the world’s largest rooftop PV array on top of a convention center has been successfully completed. The 6.4 MW installation covers an area of 8.1 hectares on top of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, generating enough energy for over 1,000 US homes. [PV-Tech]

¶   September was the biggest month ever for Tucson Electric Power’s Renewable Energy Department. Over 500 applications for new solar connections came in and October seems to be keeping apace. What’s driving this surge? Better financing options for consumers and better information. [Arizona Daily Star]

¶   Utilities see themselves losing ground to new competitors as the US strives to significantly expand and strengthen its electrical grid, according to a Mortenson Construction survey of utility executives, engineers, and suppliers at the 2014 IEEE PES Transmission & Distribution Conference. [PR Web]

¶   New Jersey’s Public Service Electric and Gas Company has started construction of its largest solar project to date, an 11.18-MW project atop the closed Kinsley Landfill. Kinsley is the utility’s third project to transform the state’s landfill space into solar farms under the Solar 4 All initiative. [reNews]

¶   A lawsuit claims that the NRC and Pacific Gas and Electric Co changed a key element of the Diablo Canyon plant’s license related to seismic safety without allowing public input as required by law — or even notifying the public at all. The changes concern the strength of earthquakes that the plant can withstand. [SFGate]


October 28 Energy News

October 28, 2014

Science and Technology:

¶   A new policymaking tool to discern the most efficient and effective means within the multiple choices and better enable the shift to renewable energy has been developed by researchers at the University of California–Berkeley. It facilitates assessment of economic and environmental implications of policies. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶   Laos plans to quadruple its hydropower generation capacity from current levels by the end of the decade and step up electricity exports to its neighbouring countries, its vice minister of energy and mines said on Tuesday. Laos is among Asia’s poorest countries but has big ambitions to become the “Battery of Southeast Asia.” [Daily Mail]

¶   The UK’s Department of Communities and Local Government has upheld the resolution to grant planning permission for a six turbine wind farm near Carlisle. The city council had granted permission, but was appealed. Now, assuming no legal challenge in a six-week period, the project will begin construction in 2015. [BQ Live]

¶   New data highlights the catastrophe of the Australian Coalition government’s campaign against renewable energy. In a period when possibly 1,000 MW of solar projects should have been commissioned, just 10 MW of solar projects have been committed in 2014, almost one third of them on IKEA’s rooftops. [RenewEconomy]

¶   GE announced it will supply equipment and procurement contractor HydroChina and wind farm customer Sapphire with 33 GE 1.5-82.5 wind turbines for the Sapphire Wind Power farm in the southeastern Pakistani province of Sindh, located outside the provincial capital of Karachi. [The Nation]

¶   The growth rate of wind farms and solar plants in China, India and an array of smaller developing countries is starting to outpace that in many of the world’s richest nations. Wind and solar equipment manufacturers are helping drive a major shift to green energy, a year-long study of developing countries’ energy use suggests. [Financial Times]

¶   Wind capacity could increase nearly seven-fold by 2030, reaching a total of more than 2000 GW and meeting almost 20% of electricity demand, according to a new report, the Global Wind Energy Outlook 2014. It says that while growth has been flat at about 40 GW per year, conditions are likely to improve. [Business Spectator]

¶   A new political party has been established which supports the current Renewable Energy Target and seeks to increase Australia’s emission targets. The Australian Progressive Party seeks to provide certainty for an industry currently suffering from the “inconsistency and short-sightedness” of successive governments. [Climate Control News]

¶   The state of Saxony-Anhalt in Germany is investing in electricity storage by developing a 30 MW lithium-ion battery there. It will be built by SK Innovation Co Ltd, a South Korean company. About €9 billion have been invested in solar power infrastructure in Saxony-Anhalt since 1991. [CleanTechnica]

¶   A town in southwest Japan became the first to approve the restart of a nuclear power station on October 28, one step in Japan’s fraught process of reviving an industry left idled by the Fukushima nuclear crisis in 2011. Satsuma-sendai, a town of 100,000, has long relied on the Sendai nuclear power plant for government subsidies and jobs. [Asahi Shimbun]

US:

¶   UC Merced leaders say the campus could be completely powered through renewable energy by the end of 2016, sooner than originally planned. The campus already gets about 15% of its power from its solar panels, and will get 60 percent from a Fresno County solar site in the next couple of years. [Merced Sun-Star]

¶   A new Alevo factory in Concord, North Carolina will produce shipping containers loaded with Alevo batteries to provide 2 MW of power (1 MWh of energy) to be attached to grids at strategic locations. These units will also provide a range of services to deliver efficiencies and eliminate waste. [Renewable Energy Focus]

¶   Broken Bow II, a 75-MW wind farm developed by Sempra U.S. Gas & Power Co, in central Nebraska, was dedicated Monday. The farm’s 43 turbines generate enough power for about 30,000 homes. Nebraska Public Power District has bought all of the wind farm’s electricity under a 25-year contract. [Lincoln Journal Star]

¶   The states of New York, Connecticut, and Vermont and the Prairie Island Indian Community in Minnesota filed separate appeals to challenge the NRC’s review on nuclear storage. They contend that federal officials did not conduct a thorough analysis of the long-term risks of dry-cask storage. [Minneapolis Star Tribune]


October 27 Energy News

October 27, 2014

Science and Technology:

¶   The risk of severe winters in Europe and northern Asia has been doubled by global warming, according to new research. The counter-intuitive finding is the result of climate change melting the Arctic ice cap and causing new wind patterns that push freezing air and snow southwards. [The Guardian]

World:

¶   A2Sea has installed the first turbine at Dong Energy’s Borkum Riffgrund 1 offshore wind farm in the German North Sea. The Sea Installer erected the first of 78 Siemens 3.6 MW machines on 25 October. The wind farm has a total capacity of 312 MW. It is planned to be fully commissioned in the first half of 2015. [reNews]

¶   The chief executive of the UK’s £3.8 billion Green Investment Bank says that after months of uncertainty over support for renewable energy, confirmation of contracts for major offshore wind schemes and clarity around the Renewable Obligation support scheme should ensure projects could move forward. [Business Green]

¶   Cruise ships now have a green alternative when they dock at the Port of Halifax, Nova Scotia. There is a new shore power system that lets vessels plug in. The shore power jib lets ships shut down their auxiliary engines and connect to the electrical grid while docked. This shore power project is the first of its kind on the East Coast. [Globalnews.ca]

¶   An official from The Institute of Energy Economics of Japan says Russia may play an important role in Japan’s efforts on energy security, possibly through a direct gas pipeline. Japan needs to diversify as nuclear reactors are currently shut down following the Fukushima Disaster. [ICIS]

US:

¶   Over a dozen solar businesses in Ohio have sent a letter to the White House backing the EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan. One organizer with Environment Ohio says leaders need to reverse the freeze on the state’s renewable-energy standards and strengthen clean-energy laws to make the plan work. [Public News Service]

¶   The Board of Public Utilities of New Jersey wants to award up to $3 million to energy-storage projects, a policy officials say could help government, commercial, and industrial facilities have a backup power source in the event the traditional power grid fails during an extreme storm. [NJ Spotlight]

¶   There has been some movement to apply pressure to Georgia Power to adopt more solar. Georgia is a conservative state, so there has been a resistance to disrupting the main utilities’ reliance on fossil fuels. However, the dramatic drop in solar power prices has made even a resistant utility begin to embrace it more. [CleanTechnica]

¶   The National Park Service is investing $29 million in 81 individual energy efficiency and water conservation projects at national parks throughout the greater Washington region. This move to reduce energy use and generate energy from renewable sources is the Interior Department’s largest so far. [National Parks Traveler]

¶   Speaking last week at a conference hosted by Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy, EPA administrator Gina McCarthy says the US has arrived at a pivotal moment in its pursuit of clean energy, a time on par with the very creation of the EPA almost 44 years ago. [Agri-Pulse]

¶   Solar giant SunEdison made several announcements last week in relation to major solar energy projects in California, as it completes major phases of project development. To date, the company has completed 382 projects in California in total, adding more than 489 MW of solar capacity in the state. [Energy Matters]

¶   Wärtsilä will supply a 50 MW Smart Power Generation power plant to Hawaiian Electric Company on the island of Oahu. The plant will help enable the integration of more solar PV generation on the island by providing backup power as needed. Wärtsilä is based in Helsinki, Finland. [FINNBAY]


October 26 Energy News

October 26, 2014

World:

¶   According to data published by the China Coal Resource, China’s coal use has dropped this year by 1.28%, a downward trend started in the second quarter of 2014 and continued in the third. This, despite the fact that electricity consumption has actually increased by 4% over the year to date. [CleanTechnica]

¶   In Germany, the tiny village of Feldheim is at the renewable energy movement’s vanguard. The hamlet was Germany’s first to leave the national grid, using 100% local, alternative energy. It has an excess of electricity from wind and solar, which it sells, and uses methane from a bio-digester for heat. [The Local.de]

¶   Australian Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane says the government hasn’t walked away from a 20% renewable energy target, but a drop in power consumption has required a “recalibration”. The government wants to adjust the RET to a “real 20%”, in effect slashing it from 41,000 GWh to about 27,000 GWh. [Yahoo!7 News]

¶   Korea’s Ulleung Island, with a population of 10,000, will be energy independent through using renewable energy sources from 2020, according to its governor. The governor took Samsø Island in Denmark as an example. In Samsø, 100% of the electricity comes from wind power. [Korea Times]

¶   In India, Rajasthan-based solar EPC firm Rays Power Experts plans to invest Rs 200 crore ($327 million) for developing independent solar power parks across the country and eyes Rs 1,000 crore ($1.635 billion) by FY ’16. The company expects to have 400 MW of operational capacity by FY ’16. [Economic Times]

¶   Solar Impulse representatives have arrived in Abu Dhabi to meet with local authorities in preparation for the plane’s arrival in January. The plane’s historic flight around the world, entirely on solar power, is scheduled to take off from Abu Dhabi next March. Pilots of the Solar Impulse 2 will conduct test flights in the meantime. [Emirates 24/7]

¶   The intensified demand for electricity from renewable sources has kick-started the hydropower development into a new era: An unprecedented number of dams for electricity production is currently under construction or planned worldwide. However, the boom will affect some of the most important sites for freshwater biodiversity. [AZoCleantech]

¶   Masao Uchibori, the only party-candidate running, won the Fukushima gubernatorial election, according to The Yomiuri Shimbun. While all six candidates aimed to decommission the all remaining nuclear reactors in the prefecture, Uchibori was the only one to back restarting other Japanese nuclear reactors. [The Japan News]

US:

¶   OneEnergy Renewables and Constellation announced the development of a 4.3 MW solar electric project on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. The is part of an electricity supply agreement between Constellation and the National Aquarium, which will receive about 40% of its power from the project. [AZoCleantech]

¶   DTE Biomass Energy today celebrated the completion of its 9.6-MW landfill gas-to-energy project at a landfill, which is owned and operated by Republic Services of North Carolina. Landfill gas at the site is used to generate renewable energy which is subsequently sold to Duke Energy Progress. [AZoCleantech]

¶   Increasing numbers of Michigan homeowners are making an investment in renewable energy, especially as prices for the equipment come down and their electricity bills edge up, according to utility companies and solar proponents. Many want to act before the federal tax credit expires in 2016. [Detroit Free Press]


October 25 Energy News

October 25, 2014

Notable:

¶   Rick Piltz passed away. He was a prominent whistleblower during the George W. Bush administration, leaking internal documents, showing that the administration was actively obscuring climate science. A White House staffer later admitted to editing reports to downplay effects of climate change. [Scientific American]

World:

¶   Marks & Spencer is building the UK’s largest array of rooftop solar panels on a distribution center. Spread across 900,000 sq ft with more than 24,000 photovoltaic panels, the system will generate nearly enough energy to power the distribution center which handles all the goods M&S sells via its online store. [HITC]

¶   Iran is planning to produce 5,000 MW of electricity in the next five years using renewable energy sources, an Iranian official says. Due to its geographical and geological position, Iran enjoys enormous potentials for production renewable energies, including geothermal, solar and wind power. [News.Az]

¶   ABB is working with Vestas to provide rural communities in developing countries with affordable clean electricity. The two companies have announced plans to jointly deliver power technology and system integration solutions for remote off-grid and microgrid communities. [SmartMeters]

¶   Mainstream Renewable Power has reached full commercial operation at the 46-MW Oldman 2 wind project in Alberta. The Irish developer erected 20 Siemens 2.3-MW 101 turbines whose main components were manufactured in Kansas and Iowa. Oldman 2 is the third Alberta wind farm to come online this year. [reNews]

¶   Nuclear power generation will account for less than 30% of all electricity generated in Japan, according to the newly appointed economy minister. This is the first time a minister has referred to a specific rate for electricity generated at nuclear power plants since the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011. [The Japan News]

US:

¶   The Ford Focus Electric 2015 edition is getting a significant price cut of about $6000, down to $29,995, according to recent reports – thus finally putting it on competitive terms with the market leader, the Nissan LEAF. This is actually the second price cut for the Ford Focus Electric, which debuted at $39,995 four years ago. [CleanTechnica]

¶   The US Navy has committed to get half of its energy from renewable sources by the year 2020. It is looking to extract energy from tides, currents and waves to help with that goal, and has given the University of Washington an $8 million contract to develop marine renewable energy. [UW Today]

¶   The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville today released a request for proposals for a 25 MW Combined Heat and Power (CHP) renewable energy project at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. The Redstone Arsenal project is a 30-year Power Purchase Agreement. [Greentech Media]

¶   Xcel Energy Inc. said Friday that it has signed deals with three Minnesota energy developers to construct up to three giant fields of solar panels near the cities of North Branch, Marshall and Tracy by late 2016 to comply with a new state renewable energy mandate. [Minneapolis Star Tribune]


October 24 Energy News

October 24, 2014

World:

¶   European leaders agreed to cut carbon emissions by at least 40% by 2030, in a move that could pave the way for a global treaty on tackling climate change next year. The wording means that the target could be raised to 50% in the event an ambitious emissions reduction deal is agreed in Paris next year. [Business Green]

¶   The United States has challenged the Japanese government over moves to ramp up exports of coal-fired power technology and to offer cheap loans to lure buyers, according to a U.S. source with direct knowledge of the matter. Japan’s shipments of the equipment soared to nearly $8 billion last year. [Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide]

¶   DuPont is part of a plan by the government of Macedonia to create a market for cellulosic ethanol in the Pelagonia region of that country. Ethanol Europe and DuPont will work toward building a market for the fuel in Europe, which would support a commercial-scale second-generation ethanol plant in Macedonia. [The News Journal]

¶   Japan warned that a volcano in southern Japan located roughly 64 km (40 miles) from the Sendai nuclear plant was showing signs of increased activity that could possibly lead to a small-scale eruption and warned people to stay away from the summit. The government is trying to get the Sendai plant restarted soon. [www.worldbulletin.net]

US:

¶   For years, the utilities responsible for providing electricity to the nation have treated residential solar systems as a threat. Now, they want a piece of the action, and they are having to fight for the chance. If utilities embrace home solar, their deep pockets and access to customers could be transformative. [Scientific American]

¶   County ballot issues to ban fracking could have a large impact outside those counties. And the campaign money being spent on both sides – but primarily by big energy companies – shows how much is at stake. The highest profile and most contentious ban is the one on the ballot in Denton, Texas. [Resilience]

¶   SunEdison, a leading solar technology manufacturer and provider of solar energy services announced today that it has closed on construction financing. The funds will be used to construct the 26 MW DC Vega solar power plant located in Merced County, California. [AltEnergyMag]

¶   Renewable energy experts Thursday credited Sonoma County with a leading role in the expanding green power industry, a sector combating climate change as it creates jobs – including economic growth fueled locally by one of the state’s first public electricity programs of its kind. [Santa Rosa Press Democrat]

¶   In its 2015 State Solar Panel Rankings Report, solar advocacy group Solar Power Rocks has graded states based on a complex set of criteria. New York and Massachusetts both get A+ grades, and Connecticut, New Jersey and Vermont each get a solid A. The rest of the nation, despite less cloudy skies, is mostly not doing as well. [Mother Nature Network]

¶   Maine’s Supreme Judicial Court upheld approval of the 39-MW Passadumkeag Mountain wind project by the Board of Environmental Protection after an appeal by a local opposition group. The court decision also clarified that the board has a broad power to review the decisions of state regulators. [reNews]

¶   The Solar Community initiative is the first nationwide bulk solar purchase program launched to give homeowners easy access to more affordable, clean, renewable energy. The initiative presents a new approach to purchasing, financing and installing solar panels at a uniform discounted price to anyone in the US. [WebWire]

¶   Wind energy is generating most of the dollars being invested in renewable energy in Michigan, according to a study released by the Pew Charitable Trust on Thursday, October 23. More than $2 billion was invested in renewable energy in the state between 2009 and 2013, according to the study. [The Ann Arbor News]

¶   Since Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey, darkening swaths of the nation’s most densely populated state for days, a microgrid at Princeton University has emerged as a national example of how to keep power running for residents, emergency workers and crucial facilities when the next disaster strikes. [Princeton University]


October 23 Energy News

October 23, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “Scratch below the nuclear hyperbole” – Six reasons why nuclear is not the answer to climate change (without even mentioning Fukushima) – The nuclear industry is pouring money and political influence into selling the United States and Wall Street on the lie that nuclear power is the answer to climate change. [Commons]

World:

¶   The Ikea Group may be putting a price on carbon emissions and is making great strides to become more sustainable. It has committed to investing €1.5 billion until 2015 in renewable energy, mainly wind and solar power. Ikea aims to produce at least 70% of its energy consumption from renewable sources by 2015. [Triple Pundit]

¶   The Ugandan authorities have approved an additional nine renewable electricity plants – some of them under the Global Energy Transfer for Feed-in Tariffs program – to generate a total of 132.7 MW to boost Uganda’s transformation into an upper middle class country. Eight of the plants will go online by 2018. [Bernama]

¶   The public sector will play an important but secondary role in financing the French energy transition, according to a new study. The state-funded study says an additional investment of €20 billion per year is needed to complete the energy transition. The study gives an overview of France’s fight against climate change. [EurActiv]

¶   Australia’s Renewable Energy Target will not be scrapped, but the government is negotiating industry exemptions with the opposition. The government, led by coal advocate Tony Abbott, called for cuts, exemption for some mining industries, or a complete abolition. Labor rejected these but proposed further talks. [PV-Tech]

¶   One of Australia’s main wind turbine tower manufacturers has announced it will shed 100 staff after the federal government revealed its intention to seek a cut to the Renewable Energy Target. Continued uncertainty over the large-scale RET led the company to mothball “most” of its wind tower fabrication facilities. [Business Spectator]

¶   China’s installed wind power capacity will reach 100,000 MW by the end of 2014, a year ahead of the scheduled targets for the year outlined in the country’s 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15), a senior official said on Wednesday. China’s installed wind power capacity had already hit 83,000 MW by the end of August. [ecns]

¶   The UK is way off track to meet its target to have 25% of heating provided by low carbon sources, such as heat pumps and biomass boilers, a new report from WWF has revealed. The Warm homes, not Warm Words report shows that just 2% of UK heating demand currently comes from low carbon sources. [Business Green]

¶   Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, known as a firm opponent to nuclear power following the 2011 Fukushima meltdowns, on Wednesday criticized current Japanese leader Shinzo Abe’s policy to revive the country’s nuclear power generation. Last May Koizumi established a body to promote renewable energy. [GlobalPost]

US:

¶   Trash to fuel, the stuff of the 1980s sci-fi comedy movie trilogy “Back to the Future” is now a reality. The 2015 Bi-fuel Chevrolet Impala – not a tricked-out DeLorean – really can run on leftovers, table scraps and, oh yeah, grains from brewing beer, as Quasar Energy Group uses organic waste to produce biogas, which can fuel the car. [Florida Weekly]

¶   The US is reducing oil dependence, slowing the growth of electricity needs, and making energy services more affordable to all Americans – and our smarter use of energy is the single most important contributor to these positive trends, according to a report released today by the Natural Resources Defense Council. [AltEnergyMag]

¶   Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced more than $53 million for forty research and development projects that will aim to drive down the cost of solar energy, tackling key aspects of technology development in order to bring innovative ideas to the market more quickly. [Utility Products]

¶   New York Governor Cuomo today announced the first transactions of NY Green Bank to kick off clean energy projects across New York. Such projects are traditionally difficult for the private sector to finance because the financial industry has little experience with them and there is no way established way to evaluate risks. [InvestorIdeas.com]

¶   Satellite observations of huge oil and gas basins in East Texas and North Dakota confirm staggering 9% and 10% leakage rates of heat-trapping methane. Scientists evaluating this put the use of fracked gas in perspective. In short, fracking speeds up human-caused climate change, thanks to methane leaks alone. [ThinkProgress]


October 22 Energy News

October 22, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “When Grid Defection Makes Economic Sense (Graphs & Charts)” A Rocky Mountain Institute and Cohn Reznick report, “The Economics of Grid Defection,” addresses the question of when it makes sense to go off the grid in various parts of the US for those in the residential or commercial sectors. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶   The UK’s wind farms generated more power than its nuclear power stations on October 21, the National Grid says. During a 24-hour period on that day, spinning blades produced more energy than splitting atoms. Wind made up 14.2% of all generation and nuclear offered 13.2%. [BBC News]

¶   The Australian clean energy industry and Labor Party have immediately rejected the Abbott government’s opening gambit in negotiations to find a bipartisan agreement on the future of the renewable energy target. Labor rejected it as a job-killing “phoney” offer before it was even announced. [The Guardian]

¶   The Cook Islands Prime Minister opened Infratec Renewables’ 960-kW Te Mana o Te Ra solar plant in Rarotonga. The panels are expected to produce about 5% of the Cook Islands’ electricity. The country aims to produce 50% of its electricity from renewable sources by next year, rising to 100% by 2020. [SundayNews.co.nz]

¶   Greece’s dominant power utility PPC won approval from the energy regulator to produce electricity at two wind parks it plans to build in northern Greece. The production licence opens the way for construction of parks of 106-MW capacity in Rodopi, a project which is estimated to cost €127.2 million ($161.47 million). [Reuters Africa]

US:

¶   The Department of Defense released its 2014 Climate Change Adaption Roadmap, outlining how the military plans to adapt to climate change. For the first time, the Pentagon discusses climate change as an immediate risk – a factor to be incorporated into how the military operates today. [Energy Collective]

¶    General Motors’ new 2.2-MW solar array at its Lordstown Complex will be complete by the end of 2014. It will be GM’s largest solar installation in the Western Hemisphere. GM remains on track to meet a company goal of 125 MW of renewable energy deployed globally by 2015. [Today's Energy Solutions]

¶   Sharyland Utilities, a power transmission company, has filed an interconnection agreement with Unity Wind at the Texas Public Utility Commission. The filing covers a wind farm in Deaf Smith County with a capacity of up to 240 MW and a projected second phase of 100 MW of solar generation. [Amarillo.com]

¶   GE’s Distributed Power business, Western Energy Systems, and Phoenix Energy announced they have signed an agreement for GE to supply Jenbacher gas engines to power a series of bioenergy plants that Phoenix Energy plans to build around California. The plants will use biomass gasification for fuel. [AltEnergyMag]

¶   Cornell University expanded its renewable energy portfolio as Distributed Sun, Building Energy and ABM announced they successfully launched production for Cornell’s Snyder Road Solar Farm, consisting of a 2-MW array on eleven acres of Cornell property in the Town of Lansing. [AltEnergyMag]

¶   In the first program of its kind, 3M Co. is one of three large US companies that are offering assistance to employees who want solar panels at their homes. The program, called the Solar Community Initiative, promises discounts of 30% to 35% on solar-panel projects, and help on planning and installation. [Minneapolis Star Tribune]

¶   A new report from the US DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley and National Renewable Energy Laboratories on the price impacts of its SunShot initiative has found the cost of solar energy in America fell by up to 19% in 2013, with utility-scale PV systems falling below $2 a watt – 59% below what modeled pricing predicted in 2010. [Energy Matters]

¶   Ecoplexus Inc has closed financing and commenced construction on three solar PV projects totaling 21 MW and costing about $40 million. The projects have signed long-term power purchase agreements contracts with Duke Energy Progress and are expected to achieve commercial operations in 2014. [PennEnergy]

¶   Allison M. Macfarlane, chairman of the NRC, announced that she will resign to take a teaching job at George Washington University. She still has more than three years left in her term, but said she would leave January 1 and become director of the university’s Center for International Science and Technology Policy. [Washington Post]

¶   The US wind industry saw installations surpass last year’s total last month, according to new data published this week. The American Wind Energy Association announced that the total for the first nine months of 2014 was 1,254 MW. The installations for 2014 have now exceeded the 1,088 MW installed during the whole of last year. [Business Green]


October 21 Energy News

October 21, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “Oil decline: Price makes the story” When the world’s business editors sent their reporters canvassing to find out what is behind the recent plunge in the world oil price, they looked at normal economics in action. But the issue here has much more to do with politics than with supply and demand.  [Resilience]

Science and Technology:

¶   The technology for managing a distributed energy landscape includes smart inverters, advanced power electronics, other grid edge devices, communications networks and software platforms. Now, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the DOE’s ARPA-E program bring us microsynchrophasors. [Energy Collective]

¶   A new, somewhat clever means of managing and improving the efficiency of the power grid was recently unveiled by a coalition of some of the world’s largest automakers. It is in fact simply a technology that allows for the direct communication of utility companies and plug-in electric vehicles, via the cloud. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶   A report from the EU on power prices is only the latest of a number coming to the same conclusion. Along with three earlier reports, it proved that “wind energy is one of the lowest cost options for reducing carbon emissions,” with each focusing on a different attribute of wind energy’s performance. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Renewable energy lies at the heart of a dispute between Spain and France: Spanish wind turbines easily produce more power than is needed in the domestic market but that energy is wasted because there are few transmission lines to carry it across the border to France, but France wants to protect its nuclear reactors from competition. [Financial Times]

¶   Global wind capacity could reach 2000 GW by 2030 and meet up to 19% of electricity demand, according to a report released by the Global Wind Energy Council and Greenpeace International. It also says that the sector could create more than 2 million jobs worldwide and cut CO2 emissions by more than 3 billion tonnes per year. [reNews]

¶   According to the Clean Energy Pipeline, global clean energy investment jumped 11% in the third quarter of 2014 over figures a year earlier, clearing $64 billion. The third quarter figures represent a 3% decrease on Q2 2014 numbers, but are still healthy growth over a year earlier. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Dutch power grid operator TenneT has signed a contract for a €150 million ($192 million) loan to finance a grid project to help connect offshore wind farms in the Netherlands. The Netherlands aims to build offshore wind farms with a total capacity of 3,450 MW by 2020. [Energy Live News]

¶   A portion of the Northwest Russian Karelian Republic’s boiler systems will gradually be shifted to local forms of fuel such as peat and lumber production refuse now that the region’s government has decided to transfer 35% (250 MW) of its heat generation to these sources. [Bellona]

US:

¶   In the next Vermont legislature, a renewable portfolio standard could be created to establish how much electricity generated from wind, solar and other renewable resources utilities must sell. Under the current voluntary goal, utilities are allowed to sell renewable power credits out of state to reduce electric rates. [vtdigger.org]

¶   The hot summer was the third in which Southern California went without 2,200 MW from the San Onofre nuclear plant. Drought reduced the state’s hydroelectric output by another 1,628. Despite these events, California did not have any major outages, primarily because of its increased renewable capacity. [KCET]

¶   Minnesota’s highways are poised to become green energy generators with up to five 1-MW PV arrays built on public right-of-way. If the pilot project proceeds as planned it would exceed the capacity of a solar installation expected to go online next fall that is touted as the largest in Minnesota. [MinnPost]

¶   Michigan wind turbines could be erected without regard for some local laws under recently introduced legislation. The bill would amend Michigan’s Right to Farm Act to include wind production. It would allow wind turbines to be constructed on agricultural land without zoning or building permits. [Michigan Capitol Confidential]


October 20 Energy News

October 20, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “Is France’s Love Affair with Nuclear Over?” During the next 11 years, France will reduce the percentage of electricity coming from nuclear from 75% to 50%. To do that, estimates are that as many as 20 of France’s 58 reactors would have to be closed and replaced with efficiency and renewable sources of power. [OilPrice.com]

¶   “Germany’s Energiewende Proves Electricity can be Clean and Reliable” Since 2004, the year of the first major revision of Germany’s Renewable Energy Act, the country has added at least 35 GW of solar and 35 GW of wind to its electric grid – enough to offset upwards of 35 coal plants. [Environmental Defense Fund]

World:

¶   The Philippines will have its largest wind farm once Energy Development Corp completes the 150-MW Burgos Wind Project in November. Groundbreaking for the Burgos Wind Project took place in April 2013 while the Construction for the initial 87 MW capacity of the wind farm started in June 2013. [GMA News]

¶   Green Power Panay Philippines Inc is currently developing a 35-MW biomass power plant in Mina, Iloilo, Panay. Biomass are renewable organic materials, like wood, agricultural crops or wastes used as a fuel or energy source. Biomass can be burned directly or processed into ethanol and methane biofuels. [Rappler]

¶   The Turks and Caicos Islands deepened its commitment to advancing renewable energy by joining the Carbon War Room’s Ten Island Challenge. The Rocky Mountain Institute will provide a range of technical, project management, communications, and business advisory support services. [Turks and Caicos Weekly News]

¶   Morocco’s first solar energy plant will begin operating in 2015, as part of a project the oil-scarce kingdom hopes will satisfy its growing energy needs. Morocco expects to build five new solar plants by the end of the decade with a combined production capacity of 2,000 MW, at an estimated cost of $9 billion. [Peninsula On-line]

¶   Investors are seeking funding from the UK government for an ambitious plan to import solar energy generated in North Africa. The TuNur project aims to bring 2 GW of solar power, enough for 2.5 million UK homes, to the UK from Tunisia if the company wins a contract for difference. [BBC News]

¶   British farmers will no longer be eligible for any farm subsidies under the Common Agricultural Policy for land from January 2015. The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs claims that the move “will help rural communities who do not want their countryside blighted by solar farms”. [Solar Power Portal]

US:

¶   Geothermal power was once king of California’s renewable energy, but the industry’s shortsightedness and slowness to innovate left it floundering for three decades as solar and wind energy grew. Now, industry leaders say it is poised for a renaissance, powered by new technology. [Los Angeles Times]

¶   Minneapolis council members approved a contract with Xcel Energy and CenterPoint Energy, while also creating a public-private board to pursue the development of renewable energy options. Some environmental activists say the arrangement is a big step forward, but some others are skeptical. [Minnesota Daily]

¶   Using figures from the US Energy Information Administration, a Greenpeace team has calculated that only around 30% of the country’s emissions reduction came from switching from coal to less carbon intensive gas. The news comes after a study in Nature suggested fracked gas could cause increased emissions. [Business Green]

¶   A recent Union of Concerned Scientists study found that America can nearly quadruple its renewable electricity in the next 15 years, reaching 23% by 2030. This comes in response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal that America set a modest goal of 12% renewable energy by 2030. [CleanTechnica]

¶   The state of Vermont has won a nearly quarter-million-dollar grant to help promote connecting renewable energy projects to the state’s electric grid. The US DOE grant goes to a partnership being set up between the state Department of Public Service and Vermont’s largest electric utility, Green Mountain Power. [Daily Journal]


October 19 Energy News

October 19, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “Offshore wind can be our answer to region’s challenges” Wildlife and future generations are counting on us to build a set of solutions that match the scale of our environmental challenges. Responsibly developed offshore wind power can be New England’s greatest contribution to this goal. [Boston Globe]

Science and Technology:

¶   Researchers have developed a new catalyst that could lead to inexpensive and more efficient biofuels. Led by Professor Yong Wang from the Washington State University, the researchers mixed inexpensive iron with a tiny amount of rare palladium to make the catalyst. [Economic Times]

World:

¶   The International Energy Agency just released its second annual Energy Efficiency Market Report 2014 confirming energy efficiency’s place as the world’s “first fuel” and estimating the value of the energy efficiency market at between $310 and $360 billion and growing. [Energy Collective]

¶   Prudential is poised to become the key investor in a £1 billion tidal power station, securing the future of the infrastructure project. Its investment arm M&G is to inject up to £100 million in the Swansea Bay Tidal power station. The project is scheduled to open in 2018, and with Prudential backing is likely to get a go ahead. [Telegraph.co.uk]

¶   In Pakistan, the provincial government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has decided to embark on an ambitious plan for hydro and solar power projects to end the scourge of power load shedding. It has also approved a fund of Rs 10 billion ($97.24 million)  for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Oil & Gas Development Company Limited. [Business Recorder]

¶   Projects are beginning to grow renewable energy infrastructure in South Africa. The government has allocated about 70 renewable energy projects including 35 based on solar PV technology, with over 1,500 MW of capacity expected to be added. Wind energy and solar thermal power projects have also been allocated. [CleanTechnica]

¶   With the Small and Medium Enterprises playing a vital role in the economy of Sri Lanka, financing has become the biggest challenge, according to Syed Zed Al Qudsy, President of Malaysia’s SME Factors, speaking at a media conference held at the Kingsbury in Colombo on Wednesday. [The Sunday Times Sri Lanka]

¶   The switch has been flicked on New Zealand’s biggest solar energy installation, which is based in Whangarei. The 240-kW grid-connected solar electricity system will offset 80% to 90% of the air conditioning costs at the Tarewa Mega Centre, generating enough energy to power more than 40 homes. [Stuff.co.nz]

¶   India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has released revised guidelines for auction of solar photovoltaic power projects with a significant hike in overall capacity. The government plans to add 15 GW of solar power capacity by Q1 2019. The first of the auctions will involve 1,000 MW of capacity. [CleanTechnica]

¶   A record 264,000 becquerels of radioactive cesium per liter has been detected in groundwater at Fukushima Daiichi, TEPCO disclosed Saturday. The sample was taken Thursday from an observation well near reactor 2 reactor of the plant, which was destroyed by the March 2011 quake and tsunami. [The Japan Times]

¶   Japan’s Economy, Trade and Industry Minister has asked the chairman of a power industry group to decide soon whether seven nuclear reactors that will reach their 40th year of operation by July 2016 should be decommissioned. The aging reactors tend to be small, so it is possible utilities will let them go. [The Japan News]

US:

¶   Michigan’s entire Upper Peninsula is facing an energy crisis. A regional electrical power grid authority has ordered We Energies to continue running a nearly 60-year-old, coal-fired power plant it wants to close. This triggered a more than $8-million-per-month cost to keep the coal-belching plant going. [Detroit Free Press]

¶   JinkoSolar Holding Co, Ltd, and sPower have announced details of their first partnership. JinkoSolar is supplying nearly 115,000 of its 305-W high efficiency solar PV modules to sPower for a 34-MW solar facility comprised of four separate projects located in Lancaster and Victorville, California. [IT Business Net]

¶   Siemens has landed a contract to provide Hutchinson-made wind turbines for a new wind farm in Iowa and small expansion of another. MidAmerican Energy announced recently it plans to spend $280 million on the project, which will include installation of 67 turbines in southwest Iowa. [Hutchinson News]


October 18 Energy News

October 18, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “Why Abbott’s faith in coal could be wrong – very wrong” In the baking expanses of the high desert near Reno, Nevada, a project is under way that could well make a mockery of Tony Abbott’s prediction this week that the coal industry will underpin Australia’s prosperity for decades. [Sydney Morning Herald]

World:

¶   Queensland network operator Ergon Energy wants to take some remote customers off-grid because of the cost of maintaining its sprawling grid network. New technology, such as solar and battery storage, costs so little it makes sense that some customers have stand-alone energy systems. [CleanTechnica]

¶   The decision by the Australian National University to end its investment in fossil fuels is a bellwether moment for Australia. It’s democracy up against crony capitalism, science up against ideology and renewable energy against the old polluting industries. Tony Abbott’s derision of ANU as “stupid” is a raw ideological refusal to face facts. [The Guardian]

¶   The Indian government said initial discussions have started for setting up an integrated power transmission grid connecting India with its neighboring nations including Bhutan, Bangladesh and Pakistan. Excess production of power in one region can easily be used to meet deficit elsewhere. [Economic Times]

¶   South African electricity utility Eskom has plugged its first wind farm into the national grid. The Sere wind farm, 350 km north of Cape Town, is the utility’s first large-scale renewable energy project. The farm is a major step towards reducing South Africa’s reliance on coal-powered energy. [South Africa.info]

¶   A report by SmartestEnergy’s Energy Entrepreneurs estimates that manufacturers in the UK increased their investment in commercial-scale on-site power by £53.3 million (US$91.4 million) to a total of £164.3 million (US$281.7 million). This represents a 36% jump in investment. [Cogeneration & On-Site Power Production Magazine]

¶   A prominent volcanologist disputed regulators’ conclusion that two nuclear reactors are safe from a volcanic eruption in the next few decades, saying such a prediction is impossible. He said a cauldron eruption at one of several volcanoes surrounding the Sendai could cause a nationwide disaster. [The Japan Times]

US:

¶   One year ago, Georgia Tea Party members joined forces with environmental advocates to force Georgia Power to procure more solar power competitively as they were upset about the $1.5 billion in cost overruns from the Vogtle nuclear power plant. Now, results of competitive bidding show solar is very cost-competitive. [Energy Collective]

¶    A $500 million biorefinery is one of only three commercially sized plants in the country that use only plant waste, such as stalks and leaves, for production and thus do not compete for food crops. The second-generation ethanol plant has the capacity to produce 25 million gallons of ethanol per year. [Hutchinson News]

¶   Debbie Dooley, co-founder of the Atlanta Tea Party and national coordinator for the Tea Party Patriots, plans to push for more solar in Florida as she has in Georgia. Her goal is to end utility monopoly control in Florida. She has launched Conservatives for Energy Freedom, with the first chapter in Florida. [Tampabay.com]

¶   The North American Smart Climate Agriculture Alliance will bring together California farmers, ranchers and foresters to collaborate with energy industry experts. The focus will be on sustainability, resilience to climate change, reducing greenhouse gasses and reviewing the latest science on climate change. [California Forward Reporting]

¶   The NRC issued a much-delayed report on Thursday on Yucca Mountain’s suitability for vast shipments of spent nuclear fuel, saying it would be safe for storing nuclear waste. The 780-page staff report concluded the site “with reasonable expectation” could satisfy federal licensing requirements. [The Fiscal Times]

¶   Officials with the soon-to-close Vermont Yankee nuclear plant said Friday it could cost up to $1.24 billion to decommission the reactor, and that they currently have about half that much in a fund dedicated to paying for that work. The figure was contained in a “site assessment study.” [Washington Times]


October 17 Energy News

October 17, 2014

Science and Technology:

¶   For years, some critics of renewable energy have contended that it’s really no better than fossil fuels when you consider the entire life cycle that goes into making their components. But comprehensive research recently released shows how far off their thinking is from reality. [GreenBiz.com]

World:

¶   Wind power is blowing gas and coal-fired turbines out of business in the Nordic countries. Nordic wholesale forward power prices have almost halved since 2010 to little over €30 per MWh as capacity increases while demand stalls due to stagnant populations, low economic growth and improved efficiency. [AsiaOne]

¶   Japan’s utilities say they are being swamped by green power and the grid does not have enough capacity to cope with the rocketing levels of electricity from the growing crop of solar power plants. Yet the same utilities are pushing to restart the nation’s mothballed nuclear reactors. [The Japan Times]

¶   EU leaders are likely to agree a new decade of climate and energy policy next week despite the “legitimate concerns” of several nations, Europe’s climate boss said on Thursday. European Union leaders have set themselves a deadline of the end of October to agree on green energy goals for 2030 to follow on from 2020 policy. [Reuters UK]

¶   Business and political leaders around the world, most notably in the United States and China, are pressing for action to avert the potentially huge financial repercussions of climate change. But this year, the most vocal climate change sceptic in the Group of 20 leading industrialised nations is its current host, Australia. [Daily Mail]

¶   Orix Corp, a Tokyo-based finance and leasing company, will continue to pursue the development of its 800 MW solar PV pipeline in Japan, despite recent reports of some utilities restricting grid access for new solar projects. Half of the projects are already under development or in operation and the rest will proceed as planned. [pv magazine]

¶   Innergex Renewable Energy Inc has announced that the Mesgi’g Ugju’s’n Wind Farm, LP has obtained the government decree from the Quebec government for a 150 MW wind project located in the Gaspé Peninsula, in Quebec. This concludes the project’s environmental approval process so construction may begin. [Stockhouse]

¶   Sweden has called on the EU to adopt a greenhouse gas emission reduction target of 50% by 2030s, 10 percentage points higher than current proposals. The call from Stockholm’s new centre-left government comes less than a week before EU leaders are set to gather to discuss the bloc’s climate and energy strategy. [RTCC]

¶   Italian utility Enel is considering phasing out 23 “obsolete” thermal power plants in Italy in the near future, accounting for 11 GW or 43% of the company’s existing thermal generation capacity. The decommissioning procedure for nine plants has already started, Starace added, listing units with a combined capacity of 2.2 GW. [ICIS]

¶   The UK’s National Audit Office has begun an investigation into the controversial subsidy regime for the planned new Hinkley Point C nuclear plant. The financial watchdog will be checking whether the guaranteed prices of £92 a megawatt hour – double the current cost of electricity – represented “value for money”. [The Guardian]

¶   Energy watchdog Ofgem has named five new potential interconnector projects that could link the UK with France, Ireland, Norway and Denmark. Together with the ElecLink and Nemo projects that Ofgem has already assessed, the schemes could provide up to 7.5 GW of additional electricity capacity in the UK. [reNews]

US:

¶   Earlier this year, the governor of Ohio signed a law that temporarily froze the energy efficiency and renewable energy standards. Now the Ohio state senate packed known opponents of renewable energy onto the review panel mandated to determine whether to make the current freeze permanent. [Huffington Post]

¶   The US Government has announced funding worth $1.4 billion to improve the delivery of electricity to rural communities. It includes $106 million to install smart grid technologies and $3 million for renewable energy systems, according to the US Department of Agriculture. [Energy Live News - Energy Made Easy]

¶   CB&I is working with Exelon Generation on a demonstration plant in Texas for Net Power. The project is designed to demonstrate Net Power’s Allam Cycle technology, which uses carbon dioxide as a working fluid to drive a combustion turbine. The plant will use a new turbine supplied by Toshiba, a collaborator on the project. [The Construction Index]

¶   The Army is gaining ground on its goal of going fossil fuel-free at many of its installations, according to the recently released program summary for its Net Zero initiative. The report, which covers fiscal 2013, breaks down efforts at nine pilot installations in the program. [Defense Systems]


October 16 Energy News

October 16, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “Pa. backs fossil fuels instead of clean energy” Governor Corbett has signed letters demanding that the EPA reconsider its proposed rule to limit carbon dioxide pollution, and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection refuses to allow its own Climate Change Advisory Committee to advise on how to implement the rule. [GoErie.com]

¶   “In Minnesota, jobs are the newest sign of climate change” Will Steger: On my arctic expeditions, I was an eyewitness to the devastating effects of climate change. Today, I am celebrating because of people like Jon Kramer, whose solar company has grown from a two-person business in 2010 to employ 20 today. [Minneapolis Star Tribune]

Science and Technology:

¶   US-based aerospace giant Lockheed Martin says it has devised a new type of miniature nuclear fusion power generator. In the announcement of October 15, the defence technology company said its new compact fusion reactor could be developed and deployed in as little as ten years. [The Australian]

¶   An international scientific study, published today in the journal Nature, says the argument that fracking can help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by eliminating a need for coal is misguided because the amount of extra fossil fuel it will produce will cancel out the benefits of its lower pollution content. [eco-business.com]

World:

¶   The price of oil has gone down because of high production levels from Saudi Arabia. In order to protect market share, the Saudi’s have decided to keep producing at current levels. While they are still making a good profit, US producers cannot break even with crude oil prices hovering around $80/bbl. [Resilience]

¶   In early March, when Russia first sent troops into Ukraine, oil was trading comfortably above $100 per barrel. Now, it is around $81, a three-year low. That’s tough for Russia since the country relies heavily on oil revenues to bankroll its budget – over half of the government’s revenues come from oil and gas. [CNN Money]

¶   Nissan Motor Corporation has begun testing a system to use electric vehicle technology to help power grids cope with peaks in demand. The energy management system could also make electricity from renewable sources, like the wind or sun, more viable by storing power to be used during periods of high demand. [Autocar Professional]

¶   Germany’s renewable energy surcharge is set to decrease for the first time in 2015, from 6.24 euro cents per kWh of power to 6.17 cents, raising the prospect of lower energy prices for households. But the move attracted criticism from the Green Party, which pushed for deeper cuts. EurActiv Germany reports. [EurActiv]

¶   India announced draft rules to auction 1,000 megawatts of solar capacity in Andhra Pradesh as Prime Minister Narendra Modi accelerates clean-energy deployment. Companies will be invited shortly to bid for contracts to build plants at a solar park in the southern state. [Businessweek]

¶   Environment Minister Ian Hunter said this week’s successful passage of the Pastoral Land Management Bill through the Lower House cemented South Australia’s reputation as the national leader in renewable energy and would provide a major boost for economic development in regional areas. [Roxby Downs Sun]

¶   A decline in Chinese power consumption has been mainly led by a slower economy and milder temperatures. Rising pollution is also a major concern for the Chinese economy, and it is dealing with excess debt and capacity. As a result, the Chinese government placed greater emphasis on environmental sustainability. [Market Realist]

US:

¶   The renewable power that Vermont homeowners and businesses generate has more than doubled since 2012, according to a report by the Department of Public Service on the state’s net-metering program. This growth is expected to continue ahead of looming uncertainty over the federal solar tax credit for solar PVs. [Reformer]

¶   The Texas Public Utility Commission is looking at whether to charge wind and solar farms higher transmission fees than fossil fuel and nuclear plants. The premise is that renewable power is variable by nature, requiring more backup than coal-fired or natural gas-fired plants. [Dallas Morning News]

¶   Vermont Electric Power Co is building a high-resolution forecast tool that aims to provide accurate, localized weather predictions. The two-year project will cost $16.6 million. The project aims to predict weather up to two days in advance, to manage the grid better by predicting solar and wind energy generation. [vtdigger.org]

¶   Marylanders really, really want to get more of their electricity from renewable sources like solar and wind, a new poll by George Mason University finds. Most also apparently back government mandates to make it happen, even if they have to pay a little more for their power. [Baltimore Sun]


October 15 Energy News

October 15, 2014

World:

¶   A new survey of Australian households conducted by Ernst & Young across regional and metro Victoria, NSW and Queensland found 9 out of 10 Australians have considered or would consider switching to solar power. The main motivation is cutting electricity bills, but environmental benefits have appeal too. [Treehugger]

¶   A number of major companies are sending EU leaders a strong message before they meet at a decisive summit on 23-24 October. And they want some serious results from that meeting. They want an agreement on binding targets for the climate and energy package far more ambitious than what is being considered. [Greenpeace International]

¶   Just a few years ago, with prices of coal through the roof, it was cigars and caviar time for an industry who were proposing more new projects than you could point an activist at. A long and glorious future was expected, based on China’s insatiable demand for coal. Now, things have changed, and coal companies are in trouble. [RenewEconomy]

¶   Skanska and Ecotricity will invest up to £500 million in onshore wind through a new 50/50 joint venture, with their first three projects all based in Scotland. The firms have created a joint venture called Skylark, which would predominantly develop onshore wind projects in Scotland. [Construction News]

¶   Renewable energy could be the key to growing power demands on the African continent, according to a new statement from the International Energy Agency. Sub-Saharan Africa could, in fact, harvest enough renewable energy to meet its rising demands as soon as 2040, the agency says. [RTT News]

¶   Canada’s nuclear industry is in an uproar. The nuclear sector is fed up with the “green energy” title the wind sector has and considers the title undeserved. So the nuclear industry has started a public relations assault against wind energy. Nuclear sector professionals claim wind power just isn’t as green as they claim. [Greener Ideal]

US:

¶   Central California, already painfully stressed by the worst drought in 50 years, has another problem with its water supply. Aquifers that supply drinking and irrigation water have recently had to swallow almost 3 billion gallons of tainted wastewater from nearby hydraulic fracturing. [CleanTechnica]

¶   The heirs and still majority owners of the Walmart fortune, the Walton family, have been spending millions of dollars in recent years funding more than two dozen anti-solar energy groups, according to a recent study from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. Among those funded is the American Legislative Exchange Council. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Yampa Valley Electric Association co-op members will soon be able to participate in one of Northwest Colorado’s first solar ventures. Clean Energy Collective, a group that aims to provide clean power generation to people regardless of housing ownership status, partnered with YVEA on a solar garden. [Craig Daily Press]

¶   Vega Biofuels, Inc recently announced it has entered into the Joint Venture to build and operate a pilot manufacturing plant in South Carolina to produce Bio-Coal, among other torrefied products. When completed in Q1 2015, the plant will use a patented torrefaction technology to produce the Company’s green-energy Bio-Coal. [Chem.Info]

¶   Texas sunshine will soon begin feeding electricity to the Houston Food Bank with the completion of a 280 solar panel installation. The 5,300 square foot solar array is expected to save enough in energy costs to fund the equivalent of just over two meals per hour in the Houston community every year. [RenewablesBiz]

¶   BYD Motors has unveiled the world’s largest electric bus, or eBus. It is a 60-foot, articulated battery-electric vehicle that can drive over 170 miles on a single charge with a passenger load of up to 120 passengers. The bus can has an off-peak charging time of two to four hours. [DigitalJournal.com]

¶   Green Mountain Power today announced that it is once again sponsoring a program to help eight non-profits construct solar arrays. The Vermont Public Service Board approved a GMP proposal to award eight matching grants of up to $20,000 each to non-profit groups all across Vermont, and GMP is encouraging organizations to apply. [vtdigger.org]

¶   Analysis at the Union of Concerned Scientists found that increasing non-hydro renewable energy sources from about 6% of electricity sales today to 23% by 2030 could  be achieved relatively easily and reduce carbon emissions nearly twice as much renewable energy as the EPA proposed. [The Equation: Blog of the Union of Concerned Scientists]


October 14 Energy News

October 14, 2014

Science and Technology:

¶   The International Energy Agency has reassessed the roles of both photovoltaic and thermal solar energy sources and published its findings in a new Technology Roadmap (for) Solar Thermal Electricity. The agency predicts reduced medium-term prospects for solar thermal electricity, but the long-term prospects are unchanged. [CleanTechnica]

¶   This past September was the warmest since records began in 1880, according to new data released by NASA this weekend. The announcement continues a trend of record or near-record breaking months, including last May and August. This means 2014 will become the warmest year on record. [Huffington Post]

World:

¶   Onshore wind is cheaper than coal, gas or nuclear energy when the costs of ‘external’ factors like air quality, human toxicity and climate change are taken into account, according to an EU analysis. The report says that onshore wind costs roughly €105 per MW/h, while gas comes in at €164, coal at €233, and nuclear at €125. [The Guardian]

¶   Of the total €120 billion to €140 billion in energy subsidies handed out by the 28 EU member states in 2012, coal accounted for €10.1 billion, exactly the same amount as onshore wind, despite it being a markedly more mature industry and its central role in driving up greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. [Business Green]

¶   The University of Glasgow in Scotland has taken a page from Stanford and other US colleges. It has become the first EU academic institution to divest fossil fuel holdings. The university court voted to divest $29 million (£18 million) of investments in the fossil fuel industry. [CleanTechnica]

¶   The Australian town of Uralla is vying with five others to become the first town in the country to rely solely on renewable energy. Mayor Michael Pearce says the move will cut power bills for the town’s ratepayers and businesses. It could also mean wind turbines become a fixture on the Uralla landscape. [Armidale Express]

¶   Remote communities in Australia’s Northern Territory will reap the benefits of solar power thanks to a $55 million (US) project funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and the Northern Territory Government, and managed by Power and Water Corporation. [solarserver.com]

¶   Despite weak momentum at the moment, energy from sources such as wood, manure and agricultural by-products could go a long way toward replacing coal in Europe over the next two decades, a leading consultancy says. McKinsey & Company sees bio-energy being cost-competitive with coal. [Sourceable]

¶   IKEA Group may introduce an internal carbon emissions price to help its drive to protect the environment and create a “new and better” company. IKEA, seen as global trend-setter among retailers on green issues, is also on target to invest $1.5 billion in solar and wind power by 2015. [Voice of America‎]

¶   Less than a week after the European Commission decided financing and pricing guarantees for the Hinkley Point power plant in Britain did not constitute an illegal subsidy, headlines show Europe remains embroiled in post-Fukushima debates over the risks and merits of nuclear power. [Nuclear Street - Nuclear Power Portal]

US:

¶   In the report, Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said uncertainty in climate change projections cannot be an “excuse for delaying action.” The 20-page report was released as Hagel attended a conference in Peru with his counterparts from North and South America. [International Business Times]

¶   The US is creating opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while delivering net economic benefits, according to a report by World Resources Institute. The report also says emerging technologies could help the US achieve deeper reductions even faster with targeted policy support. [Environmental Leader]

¶   Webster Groves, Missouri is the latest city to have been officially designated by the US EPA as a Green Power Community (GPC). To become a GPC, the city, including local government, businesses and residents must collectively use enough green power to meet or exceed EPA’s Green Power Community purchase requirements. [Fierce Energy]


October 13 Energy News

October 13, 2014

Science and Technology:

¶   Employing a high-tech approach, Electricity Exchange is one of the first companies in Ireland to develop a virtual power plant to offer reserve power to the national grid. The company is one of the first in Ireland to develop such a power plant,  which uses a cluster of back up generators to offer reserve power to the national grid. [Irish Examiner]

World:

¶   A new decree for the development of wind energy was recently issued by the Ukrainian government. The ambitious new goals called for by the decree include increasing the wind energy capacity of the country up to 2.28 GW by the year 2020 — which represents a 500% increase on the current figure of 410 MW. [CleanTechnica]

¶   De Aar 3, an 85-MW solar project said to be the largest solar farm in South Africa using thin-film modules, has been completed. The project, undertaken by Solar Capital De Aar, uses over 200,000 amorphous silicon thin-film modules manufactured by a Moncada subsidiary in Italy. [PV-Tech]

¶   India’s goal of providing 24/7 power to all can be solved within 18 months by commissioning 10,000 MW of capacity that is stranded for want of clearances, Suresh Prabhu, chairman, Advisory Group for Integrated Development of Power, Coal and Renewable Energy said at an ASSOCHAM event on Monday. [Financial Express]

¶   Norwegian energy firm Statnett has been granted a licence to allow it to start working with the UK to build the world’s longest sub-sea cable. The huge cable running under the sea will be able to carry 1,400 megawatts of electricity and is scheduled to be operational by 2020. [The Local.no]

¶   Renewables can meet sub-Saharan Africa’s energy needs by 2040 if the region can unlock its potential, the International Energy Agency has said. The influential agency predicts energy demand will grow by around 80% across the region as the economy quadruples in size over the next 25 years. [Business Green]

¶   There have been several instances in recent months when wind energy has accounted for all, or nearly all, electricity demand in South Australia. Last Tuesday, however, set a new benchmark – the combination of wind energy and rooftop solar provided more than 100% of the state’s electricity needs, for a whole working day between 9:30am and 6pm. [CleanTechnica]

¶   French companies Alstom and DCNS signed a partnership agreement to develop floating wind technology with commercialization targeted for 2017. Under the ‘Sea Reed’ tie-up the duo will develop a 6-MW unit featuring a semi-submersible floating system developed by DCNS and Alstom’s Haliade 150 offshore turbine. [reNews]

¶   Independent energy supplier Ecotricity is among companies and organisations considering a legal challenge against the European commission decision to give approval to Hinkley Point C nuclear plant. Austria has already promised to fight the decision in the European court of justice. [Business Green]

¶   The Scottish energy minister has lashed out at the UK government’s support for nuclear power, arguing it is harming investment in renewable energy projects. He said projects like the offshore wind projects recently approved were not receiving enough financial support from the government in Westminster. [Building.co.uk]

US:

¶   North Carolina’s recent renewable energy boom has been driven mostly by solar, according to a new report from The Pew Charitable Trusts. To be exact, the state saw its solar energy capacity grow by 335 MW in 2013 — making it the 3rd-fastest-growing state in the US with regard to renewable energy capacity. [CleanTechnica]

¶   A technical assistance grant recently awarded by the state Department of Energy Resources is allowing the town of Amherst and UMass-Amherst to receive expert advice at no cost on whether to expand the campus’ “micro grid” and install renewable energy systems at campus and town facilities to enhance energy resiliency in the event of future power outages and major weather events. [Wicked Local Waltham]


October 12 Energy News

October 12, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “WSJ Gets it Wrong on ‘Why Peak Oil Predictions Haven’t Come True'” A wrong version of how our economy works has been handed down through the academic world, through our system of peer review, with each academic researcher following in the tracks of previous academic researchers. [Energy Collective]

Science and Technology:

¶   An emerging class of electrically conductive plastics may bring low-cost, transparent solar cells, flexible and lightweight batteries and ultra-thin antistatic coatings for consumer electronics and aircraft. One example, PTMA, is about 10 times more electrically conductive than common semiconducting polymers. [Science Daily]

World:

¶    Just two weeks after the largest climate march in history, over 250 groups from nearly 40 countries urged United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, to reject fracking as a part of the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative. This came on the eve of the Global Frackdown, a day of action to ban fracking on October 11th. [eNews Park Forest]

¶   Solar PV project development in Russia has been accelerating recently – with a number of large, notable projects announced recently. Among those projects are a number to be developed in Crimea — no doubt being developed with the intention of making the peninsula more or less energy independent. [CleanTechnica]

¶   While the Japanese government wants to restart some nuclear reactors, new energy policy announced last April aims to decrease Japan’s nuclear dependence while boosting renewable energy sources. The change includes moving to fuel cells powered by hydrogen, and car makers will do that starting next year. [The Japan Times]

¶   Owing to Chile’s great renewable energy potential, its current reliance on expensive fossil fuel imports, its energy-intensive mining operations, and its supportive government, the country is now considered by many to be the world’s “top” renewable energy market. And solar power is already at grid parity there. [CleanTechnica]

¶   The church will not change its stand on the issue of reviving the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, according to the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines. Balanga Bishop Ruperto Santos  said the Church’s position on the issue was researched and discussed before a decision was taken. [Inquirer.net]

US:

¶   The shift to renewable energy sources in Michigan – particularly wind – has picked up in the past few years. One reason: It’s about half as expensive to produce than utility companies initially expected, down to as little as $50 a megawatt hour last year from more than $100 a megawatt hour in 2009. [Detroit Free Press]

¶   Honda and SolarCity announced at the SXSW Eco Conference in Austin, Texas a fund the companies said is expected to finance $50 million in solar installations for Honda and Acura customers and dealerships. This is a follow-up to a $65 million fund the companies created in 2013. [TechnologyTell]

¶   Eastern New Mexico is set to be the home of a new wind farm. The Anderson Wind Farm is under construction in Lea County – in the heart of the state’s oil and gas country – and could start generating power by December. The facility features nearly two dozen 264-foot-tall wind turbines of either 1.85 or 2 MW each. [Beaumont Enterprise]

¶   John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, delivered a strongly-worded warning concerning climate change and how it will impact not just the United States but the entire globe. The best way to prevent even more climate change from occurring in the future is to embrace clean energy alternatives. [Beta Wired]

¶   Residents who live in Massachusetts towns that have municipal electric companies enjoy smaller monthly electric bills than customers who live in communities served by National Grid. The difference will grow even wider on the heels of a 37% rate increase by National Grid that will go into effect on November 1. [Worcester Telegram]


October 11 Energy News

October 11, 2014

A Look at History:

¶   “The Story Of Germany’s Off-Shore Wind Farms” Germany was not the first European nation to install offshore wind farms. There were plants in Denmark and England years before the first turbine was erected a mere 500 meters off the quay wall of the Rostock international port in 2005. [CleanTechnica]

Electic Vehicle Technology:

¶   Since last summer there have been rumors that GM is building a $30,000 electric car with a driving range of 200 miles, and the Detroit Free Press reports that GM has confirmed the existence of this EV, minus any revealing details. Select investors and media were invited to check out several upcoming GM vehicles. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Dr Heinz-Jakob Neusser, Volkswagen’s head of powertrain development, thinks that electric cars with over 300 miles of range aren’t too far off. The foundation of his argument is that the energy density of electric car batteries has been improving rapidly and will continue to do so. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶   China has announced it will reintroduce import tariffs of 6% a tonne on thermal coal used to generate electricity and a 3% a tonne on metallurgical coal used to smelt iron. The tariffs are not new but a return to those that were in place when China first began to import significant quantities of coal. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Four offshore wind farms capable of powering 1.4 million homes have been approved by the Scottish Government. Energy minister Fergus Ewing has given development consent to Neart na Gaoithe, Inch Cape, and Seagreen Alpha and Bravo, which will together generate up to 2.284 GW of electricity. [Holyrood.com]

¶   In the new world of alternative energy sources, Tokyo is about to have its day in the sun. There are currently 20 citizen groups operating or in the planning stages for solar power generation businesses funded by private contributors in the nation’s capital, according to the Tokyo-based People’s Power Network. [Asahi Shimbun]

¶   ZooShare Biogas Cooperative Inc is building a 500-kW biogas plant conveniently located across from the Toronto Zoo. Scheduled to be operational by December 2015, the facility will produce renewable power for the Ontario grid, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 10,000 tonnes each year. [Canada NewsWire]

¶   Solar Power Inc, a renewable-energy developer backed by China’s LDK Solar Co, has agreed to build a solar farm with 20 MW of capacity in Inner Mongolia. The company expects to complete the project and connect it to the grid in the fourth quarter. The project is Solar Power’s first in China’s Inner Mongolia region. [Businessweek]

¶   Germany has started talks with all the countries it borders about closer power-market cooperation to save money when it comes to maintaining spare capacity, according to two people close to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government. The country’s Economy Ministry confirmed the talks, declining to give more details. [Businessweek]

¶   Nanos Research examined the views of Albertans on a wide range of electricity issues. Their research found that almost 80% of those surveyed say the Government of Alberta has not done enough to develop wind power and other renewable forms of large-scale electricity generation. [Your Renewable News]

US:

¶   The installed price of solar energy in the US is continuing to decrease steadily, but is still considerably more expensive than it is throughout much of Europe, according to the most recent Tracking the Sun report from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which looks at data through 2013. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Iowa’s reputation as a leader in wind energy production got another boost Friday when MidAmerican Energy announced plans to invest an additional $280 million in the renewable energy. The Des Moines-based utility will add 67 wind turbines at two western Iowa locations. [DesMoinesRegister.com]

¶    A new study by the environmental group World Resources Institute says that improving buildings’ energy efficiency, boosting the fuel-economy of automobiles and cutting leaks from the production and transport of natural gas can save money now and cut climate change later. [Bloomberg]

¶   Skidmore College’s 2-MW solar array is now complete. The system, comprised of 6,950 modules mounted in an eight-acre solar field will provide 12% of Skidmore’s annual electrical usage from clean, renewable power. It is among the largest solar arrays in New York State. [Saratoga TODAY Newspaper]

¶   Entergy executives already have begun to disclose plans for shutting down and decommissioning the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. And those plans will become even more clear when a detailed site assessment – billed as the first of its kind – is released, likely later this month. [Brattleboro Reformer]


October 10 Energy News

October 10, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “Walmart Is the Biggest Corporate Solar User. Why Are Its Owners Funding Groups That Oppose Solar?” Walmart has 89 MW of installed solar capacity on its retail rooftops. But in 2010-2013, the Walton Family Foundation has donated nearly$4.5 million to groups working to impede clean energy development. [Mother Jones]

Science and Technology:

¶   Wind power is on track to achieve cost parity with fossil fuels thanks in part to an open-source software tool being developed at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The software enables high-fidelity analysis of wind turbine and wind plant performance under a full range of atmospheric and land conditions. [HPCwire]

World:

¶   Poland says it will need cash and help in curbing its emissions if it is to sign up for a new decade of EU green energy policy at talks this month, according to a document seen by Reuters. The document shows the 28 EU member states are broadly ready to agree a new set of 2030 goals. [EurActiv]

¶   In Pakistan, the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority has awarded licences to two sugar mill-owners for setting up bagasse-based power generation with a cumulative capacity of 45 MW. The licencees were Mehran Sugar Mills Limited and Alliance Sugar Mills Limited. [The News International]

¶   India Inc cumulatively promised to invest upwards of 1 lakh crore rupees ($16 billion) in different sectors in Madhya Pradesh after Prime Minister Modi and Chief Minister Chouhan asked them to take full advantage of the “ease to do business” policies that have been rolled out by the  state government. [The New Indian Express]

¶   GE’s Wind PowerUp service has helped Eon boost output from 283 turbines. Eon signed a total of 469 GE machines up for the manufacturer’s software scheme, which was launched last year and increases a wind farm’s output by up to 5%. Once validated, it could provide a projected increase of 87 GWh per year. [reNews]

¶   Less than 4 GW of natural gas-fired power plants are being built in Western Europe, the lowest level in more than 10 years, according to the Platts Power in Europe Project Tracker. The Tracker which shows electric power generation capacity and construction in Europe. [Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide]

¶   In line with a campaign promise by President Francois Hollande in 2012, the French parliament has voted to reduce the share of nuclear energy in electricity generation to 50% from the current level of 75% and has also adopted a program to drastically reduce energy consumption before 2050. [Kuwait News Agency]

¶   The Austrian government will challenge at the European Court of Justice the European Commission’s OK to use of billions of taxpayer pounds to back the planned Hinkley Point C nuclear plant in the UK. Vienna believes the EC decision could pave the way for the construction of other new nuclear power stations closer to home. [Recharge]

¶   A former Irish minister of state has called on the Government to join Austria in a legal action it plans against a proposed nuclear power station at Hinkley, Somerset, in southwest England. He said the EU Commission’s decision to allow the proposed €31.2 billion deal to build the power plant was surprising. [Irish Times]

US:

¶   First Wind has implemented GE’s PowerUp services in Utah, and plans to expand its use further into US GE wind turbine fleet. In one year, more than 1,400 wind turbines contracted under the software platform realizing up to 18,000 MW/h of additional generation, an improvement of 5%. [Newswire Today]

¶   A new report from the Pew Charitable Trusts says North Carolina “has emerged as a clean energy leader” in the southeast. The state ranks third in new renewable energy capacity, third in private investments and eighth in energy- and environment-related jobs, according to Pew. [WRAL Tech Wire]

¶   SolarCity Corp, which is the leading residential solar service provider of the US, now has plans to offer loans to homeowners for solar systems, under a program called MyPower. The company says this move could reshape the rooftop solar market and drive rapid adoption. [Zacks.com]

¶   The California Utilities Commission on Thursday issued proposed modifications to a settlement between utilities and ratepayer groups regarding the financial responsibilities in shutting down the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. Consumers would pay about $3.3 billion over 10 years. [Seaside Courier]


October 9 Energy News

October 9, 2014

World:

¶   Far from imposing burdens on the economy, a switch to greener electricity would result in $1.8 trillion of savings between 2015 and 2035. Eliminating oil in transport could potentially add as much as $3.5 trillion with the right policy choices, researchers from the Climate Policy Initiative claim. [Business Green]

¶   Indian manufacturer Suzlon has taken the wraps off plans to build 2-GW of wind projects in the state of Madhya Pradesh over the next five years. The company added that it will establish manufacturing facilities to support the work, which will be carried out for “the small and medium enterprise sector and independent power producers.” [reNews]

¶   Reports yesterday claim the government has ditched the Warburton review, which called for renewable projects to be scrapped or phased out. Talks between the government and Labor to save the target have begun after both sides agreed to exempt struggling aluminium smelters from the RET costs. [Warrnambool Standard]

¶   The UK climate change minister, Amber Rudd, has said that subsidy-free solar PV should be “the goal” by 2020. Speaking at the opening of a 2.7 MW solar project at Kingspan Insulation’s manufacturing plant in Selby, the minister said that the industry was on track to be subsidy free by 2020. [Solar Power Portal]

¶   Global solar PV installations are expected to push past 19.5 GW in the fourth quarter of 2014, according to new figures from analysis firm NPD Solarbuzz, reaching ever closer to a global cumulative PV deployment of 200 GW. This is of no real surprise given recent analyst predictions for countries such as China and Japan. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Several countries have urged the EU to significantly enhance its emissions reduction target to provide impetus to the global carbon market as well as the slow-moving climate change negotiations. Poland’s new prime minister has stated that she could veto a proposal by the EU to increase the emissions reduction target. [CleanTechnica]

¶   The Rajasthan state government has a policy that dwarfs the national solar power policy itself. While the current national policy aims at 22 GW installed capacity by 2022, the Rajasthan solar power policy targets 25 GW installed capacity over the next five years.The state has about 600 MW installed solar power capacity as of now. [CleanTechnica]

¶   The decision by the European Union to approve Britain’s €20 billion plan to build a new nuclear plant only 150 miles from the Irish coast has sparked controversy. Irish Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said the European Commission sign-off allows electricity to be generated at Hinkley at twice the price of alternative renewables. [Herald.ie]

US:

¶   The US DOE has issued a Presidential Permit for the 1 GW Champlain Hudson Power Express transmission Project, which will deliver hydro generation from Quebec in Canada to New York City. The buried 333-mile HVDC line will run the length of Lake Champlain and through parts of the Hudson River. [reNews]

¶   Less than five months since breaking ground on a new 2-MW solar project in Brattleboro, Vermont, Winstanley Enterprises was joined by development team members and supporters to officially mark the project’s completion. The system will produce 40% of Brattleboro’s immediate electrical needs on a clear afternoon. [AltEnergyMag]

¶   Starting this May, 20,000 Sonoma County, California, electricity customers will get renewable power at a lower cost than from their previous electric utility, Pacific Gas & Electric. A new nonprofit, locally controlled utility will deliver the power to a collection of cities and towns in the county. [CleanTechnica]

¶   ABB Ltd recently rolled out a key renewable energy transmission project in Texas. For this project, the company had developed a novel clean energy solution, the Station Service Voltage Transformers, for a couple of Texas-based utilities. The 362-kV transformers are expected to save $1 million each. [NASDAQ]


October 8 Energy News

October 8, 2014

Science and Technology:

¶   Researchers at the Ohio State University have succeeded in combining a battery and a solar cell into one hybrid device, thus creating the world’s first solar battery. A mesh solar panel allows air to enter the battery, and light and oxygen enable different parts of the chemical reactions that charge the battery. [EE Times India]

¶   To meet global climate change commitments, the International Energy Agency recently called on the United States, the European Union, China and India to invest a combined $380 billion in energy storage by the middle of the century. A large variety of companies are developing many technologies. [New York Times]

¶   The 2014 Nobel prize for physics has been awarded to three scientists for their invention of energy-efficient blue light-emitting diodes, a breakthrough that was a cornerstone in the development of energy-saving lighting. This invention made white light from LEDs possible. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

World:

¶   Britain won EU approval for a new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point on Wednesday, allowing the government to commit to 35 years of financial support for Europe’s biggest and most controversial infrastructure project. EU commissioners from at least five countries voiced opposition to the plan. [Financial Times]

¶   UK Energy Secretary Ed Davey has broken ranks within government to launch a stinging attack against his coalition partners in the Conservative Party for undermining the onshore wind sector. He accused Tory Communities Secretary Eric Pickles of verging on “abusing ministerial power.” [reNews]

¶   Global energy consultants Pöyry published a report suggesting the cost of solar and wind power may drop to the same level as fossil fuels within a decade, ending a need for renewable subsidies in Europe. Pöyry’s report suggest that Spain could achieve wholesale grid parity in solar power as early as 2021. [pv magazine]

¶   The Clean Energy Council, the peak body for wind and solar power in Australia, has defended a plan to exempt the aluminium industry from the federal renewable energy target, saying it would come at only a trivial cost to consumers. They believe it might salvage bipartisan support for the target. [Sydney Morning Herald]

¶   For Carnegie Wave Energy, the expensive, decade-long process of developing its wave technology – to convert ocean swell into renewable power and freshwater – is approaching a critical moment, as the company prepares to deploy its underwater buoys at a commercial test site off the Australian coast near Perth. [BRW]

¶   In its half-yearly report for 2014, the World Wind Energy Association said the overall volume of global added capacity came in at 17,613 MW in the six months to June – up from 13,978 and 16,376 in the first half of 2013 and 2012 respectively. This is a clear indication of recovery for the industry. [Sourceable]

¶   In the past, over the years, Australia’s electricity supply industry grew ­accustomed to the inexorable growth in electricity demand. That growth was constant and reliable. Beginning 2007, demand growth flattened, and then began to decline. This was a big surprise. [The Australian Financial Review]

US:

¶   The state of New York will provide $750 million dollars for a huge solar plant in Buffalo Governor Cuomo announced this week. The facility will be used by SolarCity, and Elon Musk has pledged 5 billion dollars for the project, which could create 5,000 jobs in the state. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Offshore wind power is not usually associated with lower-cost energy, at least not in the public imagination. But it turns out that installing 54 GW of offshore wind power off America’s coasts can cut the cost of electricity in the US by an astounding $7.68 billion a year. [Natural Resources Defense Council]

¶   As the drought in California continues to strain the state’s hydropower resources, natural gas and renewables are locked in competition to determine which will capture the lion’s share of the lost hydropower capacity. Natural gas output has an inverse relationship with hydropower generation. [Platts]

¶   The electricity market is very complex and changing. The 40-year-old Ginna nuclear plant on the shore of Lake Ontario in upstate New York is becoming an example of an emerging trend. Its income is down because cheap natural gas and renewable energy have depressed the market. [New York Times]

¶   The results of a Natural Resources Defense Council poll were overwhelming: nearly 8 in 10 New Yorkers support a moratorium on fracking, and support crosses geographical, ideological and racial divides. At the same time, respondents showed tremendous support for renewable energy. [Natural Resources Defense Council]


October 7 Energy News

October 7, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “While Critics Debate Energiewende, Germany is Gaining a Global Advantage” When viewed in context, there are many reasons to believe investments in Energiewende will reap economy-wide rewards, giving Germany a competitive global advantage over other countries that lagged behind investing in the future. [Environmental Defense Fund]

World:

¶   Greensmith, one of the world’s leading providers of energy storage management software and related services, recently made the announcement that it has seen huge growth in the grid-scale energy storage market, with the commissioning of 23 MW of the company’s GEMS energy storage software platform this year. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Northern Rivers Energy, Australia’s first community-based renewable energy retailer in the northern rivers region, plans for the region to become fossil free within years. This is the first Australian attempt to adopt the community energy company model that has had dramatic effects in Hamburg and Colorado. [Echonetdaily]

¶   Infigen Energy chief executive Miles George says asset write-downs would be premature for the wind power producer, given increasing signs that the Renewable Energy Target may survive with only relatively minor changes. He was hopeful of no need for impairments of Infigen’s $900 million Australian business. [WA today]

¶   Work on a hybrid power plant for solar and wind energy in southern Bahrain is expected to start in the next three months. The 5 MW pilot station will be built on 30 acres of land near Al Dur Power and Water Plant, and will be linked to Bahrain’s power-distribution grid by the first quarter of 2015. [Gulf Daily News]

¶   GE Energy Financial Services in Stamford, a unit of Fairfield-based GE, has joined Kuni Umi Asset Management and Toyo Engineering in an investment in Japan’s largest solar power project, a 231-MW facility to be built in Setouchi City, Okayama Prefecture, at a cost of about $1.1 billion. [The Advocate]

¶   Under the terms of the new regulations in Chile, ‘Residential Generators’ in the country are now able to connect renewable energy systems, such as solar, to the distribution system and receive payments for the surplus electricity they generate. [Cogeneration & On-Site Power Production Magazine]

¶   The EU Tracking Roadmap from the Keep on Track monitoring body warned that 14 of the EU 27 member states are expected to fall short of their targets, with another four states hanging in the balance. This is despite 22 states hitting the interim targets for 2011/2012, indicating a slowing in progress. [Windpower Monthly]

¶   France’s energy minister Segolene Royal believes it would be better to build new renewable energy projects than to keep up heavy investments maintaining old nuclear power plants. Royal pointed out that reactors in nuclear plants don’t last forever and “you have to re-invest and that is very expensive.” [Recharge]

¶   Austria will take the European Commission to the European Court of Justice if the executive approves Britain’s plans for €20.4 billion nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset, a spokesman for the country’s chancellor said on Sunday. A vote is expected on Wednesday (8 October). [EurActiv]

US:

¶   New Jersey legislators will consider a bill this week to promote the installation of solar arrays, a change that will affect mostly homes and small businesses seeking to deploy the systems. The measure also addresses fundamental changes in the structure of the energy industry. [NJ Spotlight]

¶    GE Power & Water’s Distributed Power business announced that it has signed a contract to provide Sky Global Partners LLC with six 8.6 MW Jenbacher gas engines along with a 30-year contractual service agreement for a new 50 MW high-efficiency power plant in Colorado County, Texas. [Today's Energy Solutions]

¶   California’s drought has cut the amount of power it gets from hydro in half, but the renewable energy industry has picked up some of the slack. Wind now accounts for more electricity generation than hydro, and on clear sunny days, solar can supply the state with 14% of its power needs by mid afternoon. [OilPrice.com]

¶   At least 54 GW of US offshore wind energy generation capacity could be deployed by 2030, according to a new study funded by the DOE, which focused on helping DOE achieve two goals: reducing the cost of offshore wind energy and shortening the time required to deploy offshore wind generation capacity. [Triple Pundit]

¶   Two agencies in western Massachusetts, the Franklin Regional Council of Governments and the Connecticut River Watershed Council, are intervening in a proposal to allow the Northfield Mountain hydroelectric station temporarily to boost output by pumping and releasing more river water at its mountaintop reservoir. [The Recorder]


October 6 Energy News

October 6, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “Why Warren Buffett Is Betting $30 Billion on Solar and Wind” Utility projects are attractive because they allow for continued reinvestment and add-on acquisitions, as Buffett has been doing since acquiring MidAmerican energy, the largest electrical utility in Iowa, in 1999 for $9 billion. [NASDAQ]

Science and Technology:

¶   Younicos is a company that combines different kinds of battery systems with software to provide grid backup. A system of 2 GW, providing 1 hour of backup capacity, could replace all thermal power plants in Germany that are used for frequency regulation, providing for 60% renewables on the grid. [RenewEconomy]

World:

¶   The deadly eruption of Mount Ontakesan in central Japan has rekindled concerns about whether Japan’s nuclear power plants, such as the Sendai plant in Kagoshima Prefecture, have adequate safeguards for dealing with such a disaster. At least 51 people were killed in the volcanic upheaval. [Asahi Shimbun]

¶   In the English county of Somerset, there are two mills that were recorded in the medieval Domesday Book. Now, continuing the long, local tradition of imaginative reinvention to suit the times, at both mills the infinitely renewable flow of water through the valleys generates electricity. [The Guardian]

¶   In its bid to double India’s installed wind energy capacity over the next five years and to reduce dependence on imported fossil fuels, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy plans to set up windmills at 500 places across the country. About 14,158 MW of wind energy is currently produced in 13 states. [India Today]

¶   Bloomberg New Energy Finance data shows that Australia is on track to record its lowest level of asset financing for large-scale renewables since 2002 – as just $193 million was committed in the third quarter of the year. From ranking No 11 in the world in 2013, Australia is seeing its industry collapse. [RenewEconomy]

¶   A pioneering green gas scheme in Scotland is set to benefit farmers, homeowners, and the environment. A new £10 million anaerobic digestion plant in the Borders will inject eco-friendly gas – made from locally grown grains – directly into the national supply network, supplying enough energy for up to 4,000 homes. [Scotsman]

US:

¶   California just achieved a new record for utility-scale solar power generation. On September 29, 4.903 GW of electricity was generated by solar PV from utility-scale sources and concentrated solar power. About 2.8 GW of California’s solar capacity is not included in the data because it is not utility-scale. [Solar Love]

¶   You might not picture former Secretary of State George Shultz as someone who drives an electric car, or has solar panels on the roof of his home. But he does — and Shultz has become a vocal proponent of action to combat climate change. He brought that message to MIT in a talk on advocating further efforts. [Energy Collective]

¶   Ameren Missouri has filed its 20-year plan supporting cleaner energy in the state of Missouri, including major expansions of solar and wind power, with the Missouri Public Service Commission. Such a plan is filed every three years, examining how Ameren will supply electric customers’ projected long-term energy needs. [Fierce Energy]

¶   Idaho Power Company has developed a Renewables Integration Tool (RIT) so grid operators can use wind energy more cost-effectively in Idaho and Oregon. RIT models and databases for forecasting weather conditions and the availability of wind energy resources are now fully operational. [RenewablesBiz]


October 5 Energy News

October 5, 2014

Science and Technology:

¶   Investment bank Citigroup says the return on investment for solar and battery storage by 2020 will beat the payback from solar now. That means socket parity in some countries by 2020, and utility-scale grid parity in large parts of the world by 2030. Fossil fuel generators and utility business models will be terminally challenged. [RenewEconomy]

¶   Renewables have been capturing a larger and larger portion of the total global energy infrastructure pie, while the portion nuclear energy has not just been stagnating but actually shrinking somewhat. More interestingly, solar and wind energy are each gaining fast on nuclear independently. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Two Swiss pilots plan to fly a solar-powered plane around the Earth, pushing human endurance as well as the boundaries of a technology that the aviators say isn’t anywhere near reaching its full potential for industry. The plane has the wingspan of a Boeing 747 jumbo jet but the weight of a family car. [Independent Online]

World:

¶   New figures from Bloomberg New Energy Finance covering the first three quarters of global clean energy investment for 2014 show that the industry is sustaining its year-long recovery after two years of decline, with a 16% lead over the same three quarters a year earlier. [CleanTechnica]

¶   The 231 MW solar energy project currently being developed in Setouchi City, Okayama Prefecture, Japan – the largest such project in Japan – is being funded via large investments by Toyo Engineering Corporation, GE unit GE Energy Financial Services, and Kuni Umi Asset Management, according to recent reports. [CleanTechnica]

¶   There is good news coming for nearly 25,000 Indian villages still passing nights under darkness due to unavailability of electricity. Instead of relying over power grids, these villages will get electricity by using novel clean energy solutions, achieving the dream illuminating rural areas without grid electricity. [Oneindia]

¶   El Hierro, one of the Canary Islands, will be 100% by renewable energy within a few months. The island’s new wind energy/water turbine battery system (finished earlier this year) will be generating all of the island’s energy needs of up to 48 GWh, offsetting 6600 tons of diesel oil, each year. [CleanTechnica]

¶   A tsunami of 26 meters would inundate the already-stricken Fukushima Daiichi power plant, causing a huge amount of radioactive substances to spill into the sea, according to TEPCO’s updated estimates. Such a towering tsunami could cause hundreds of trillions of becquerels of cesium-137 to be released into the ocean. [Asahi Shimbun]

US:

¶   New England has always endured high electricity costs, but this year’s 37% price surge reflects a relatively new problem: As many old coal-burning plants have retired, natural gas accounts for about half the region’s electricity generation. Utilities and customers  are both exposed to gas price spikes. [Boston Globe]

¶   North Carolina ranked behind only California and Arizona in solar-power installations last year, with an added 261 MW, a 114% increase over 2012. Most of that was accounted for by massive solar farms generating electricity for Duke Energy’s grid, but ordinary rate payers are also getting solar installed. [Asheville Citizen-Times]

¶   Renewable energy’s share of Minnesota’s power has quadrupled since 2000, to 16 percent, and now the state is touting the jobs that have been created as a result. There are 15,338 clean-energy jobs in the state, according to a report from the Department of Employment and Economic Development. [Mankato Free Press]


October 4 Energy News

October 4, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “Great Plains Power Grid Operator Sowing Confusion about the Clean Power Plan” Some players – notably the Great Plains region’s transmission grid operator – are jumping the gun with premature warnings of dire consequences for the grid. They back these with poorly done analysis. [Natural Resources Defense Council]

¶   “EPA’s Clean Energy Standards Could Actually Lower Electricity Bills” It’s frustrating to hear opponents of climate action once again use the threat of higher electricity rates as a scare tactic to try to stop the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. The good news is that we have more evidence than ever before to prove our opponents wrong. [Care2.com]

Science and Technology:

¶   The author of a recent report investigating the impact of low-frequency sound on the human inner ear has responded to British newspapers which misled readers by claiming that wind farms could cause hearing impairment. He said the research did not include anything relating to windfarms. [CleanTechnica]

¶   A Stanford study funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) confirms a growing body of research that finds “The atmospheric conditions associated with the unprecedented drought in California are very likely linked to human-caused climate change.” [Energy Collective]

World:

¶   In the last week, half Japan’s 10 general electricity utilities have announced that they would suspend reviews of proposals for new generation from renewable energy producers or take measures to ensure that the addition of that energy does not compromise their transmission and distribution networks. [Scientific American]

¶   Suggestions that the current Australian Renewable Energy Target of 41,000 GWh by 2020 is infeasible have been laughed off by global wind development company Windlab, who have released figures showing that not only is the target feasible, but could be met by existing approved wind energy that has simply yet to be constructed. [CleanTechnica]

¶   A solar power plant has been launched in Russia’s Astrakhan province on the basis of the photovoltaic modules produced by Kazakhstan’s Astana Solar LLP, Kazatomprom. ‘Narimanov’ solar power plant, with the installed capacity of 250 kW started to operate on September 29. [Trend.az]

¶   At a geothermal demonstration project in Cornwall, engineers showed that water can be heated to 60° C using the Earth’s internal heat. The project was designed and managed by Geothermal Engineering Ltd, with funding assistance from the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change. [Cogeneration & On-Site Power Production Magazine]

¶   The cost of solar power plus battery storage is about to dip below the average electricity bill in Germany, according to new analysis by the global investment bank HSBC. The bank projects that the dropping prices of home solar and home battery storage is about to massively disrupt traditional power generation. [ThinkProgress]

¶   A landmark deal to use British taxpayers’ money to build a £16 billion ($25.6 billion) nuclear power station has triggered opposition from a quarter of EU policy-makers, who want to overturn approval from the top European regulator, EU sources said. Critics say it breaches EU law over when government funding is allowed. [Daily Times]

US:

¶   The Department of the Navy is requesting bids for renewable power at fourteen installations in southern California, in amounts of up to 150 MW for each. The Navy is seeking to get 50% of its power from renewable sources by 2020, and at least 1000 MW by 2015. [Desert Dispatch]

¶   In his recent speech on climate change at the United Nations, President Obama stated: “Over the past eight years, the United States has reduced our total carbon pollution by more than any other nation on Earth.” According to data found in the BP Statistical Review, he is correct. [Canada Free Press]

¶   A settlement reached between the Public Service Company of New Mexico and some “intervenors” over a plan to close two units at the San Juan Generating Station would reduce future rate increases. The settlement has been sent to the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission. [Farmington Daily Times]

¶   Construction has commenced on Minnesota’s largest solar generation site. Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport will house a 3-MW solar installation on the top decks of two parking structures. The project also includes converting more than 7,700 metal halide light fixtures to energy-saving LED technology. [PennEnergy]


October 3 Energy News

October 3, 2014

Science and Technology:

¶   Navigant Research says in a new report that between January 2013 and September 2014, 91 new grid-scale energy storage systems totaling 362.8 MW were announced or launched. Lithium-ion technology is most commonly used, but flywheels and flow batteries are emerging as storage options. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶   A new consortium hopes to become Australia’s first community owned retailer, with big plans to build, generate and sell renewable energy in the northern rivers. Community owned retailers are common in Europe and the US. In Germany, retailers and local network operators are commonly owned by local councils. [Echonetdaily]

¶   Joining the move for renewable energy in India is National Aluminium Company Ltd, considered as one of the biggest aluminium production companies in the world. It has recently announced plans to install a 100 MW wind energy project, which would require a $110-million investment. [EE Times India]

¶   Global wind and solar company Mainstream Renewable Power has signed an agreement with Swiss developer NEK Umwelttechnik to build and operate Ghana’s first utility-scale wind farm. The 225-MW project will cost $525 million and is expected to generate power early in 2016. [GhanaWeb]

¶   Britain has increased its budget to subsidize electricity projects that use renewable sources by £95 million to £300 million ($486 million), according to the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change. Britain plans to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% from a 1990 baseline by 2050. [Reuters]

¶   The US and India are committed to creating a binding climate deal next year, a joint statement from the two nations said. US president Barack Obama and Indian prime minister Narendra Modi held talks in Washington yesterday, at which they recognized the importance greenhouse gas emissions and improving resilience. [Argus Media]

US:

¶   NJ Transit has received $1.3 billion in federal funds to improve the resilience of the state’s transportation system in the event of devastating future storms. The funds include $410 million to develop the NJ TransitGrid into a first-of-its-kind microgrid capable of keeping the power running when the electric grid goes down. [Energy Collective]

¶   Installed PV capacity among US schools has soared over the last decade, rising from 303 kW to 457,000 kW, according to a TSF-SEIA report. That has resulted in prevention of 442,799 metric tons of CO2 emissions per year, the equivalent of taking some 100,000 cars of U.S. roads annually. [Triple Pundit]

¶   Renewable energy producer ReEnergy Black River has been awarded a 20-year contract by the US Defense Logistics Agency to supply renewable energy to the Fort Drum army base in New York. ReEnergy’s Black River 60-MW plant originally was a coal station. It has been converted to burn locally grown shrub willow as a fuel. [BioEnergy News]

¶   After being tweaked for several months, Gundersen Health System is marking the completion of its joint cow power project near Middleton, Wisconsin. The $14 million GL Dairy Biogas Farm, has actually been producing methane and electricity from cow manure since late last year. [La Crosse Tribune]

¶   The office of the Texas State Comptroller released a report recommending that tax incentives wind power be ended as they give wind an unfair advantage. The Executive Director of The Wind Coalition argues that oil and gas received 99.6% of state and local incentives. [Bakken.com]

¶   A partnership between the local utility and state and federal government will build Kentucky’s largest solar array at Fort Campbell. The solar array will cover about 20 acres on an abandoned landfill at the army base, and will produce 5 MW of power, enough to power about 500 homes. [WKMS]

¶   NV Energy, part of billionaire Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate, is seeking proposals to secure up to 100 MW of additional renewable energy resources in Nevada. The request for proposals is the first of three for 100 MW each that the utility will issue through 2016. [Recharge]

¶   The Florida Public Service Commission ordered Duke Energy to credit $54 million to customers that the company was collecting for nuclear power equipment it never received. The charges were being levied for two nuclear power plant projects that have been canceled. [TBO.com]

¶   The contractors building two new reactors at SCE&G’s VC Summer nuclear plant in Fairfield County, South Carolina, said Thursday it would cost an additional $1.2 billion to finish the work there. SCE&G has not agreed to the consortium’s new cost estimates nor any projected new completion dates. [Hilton Head Island Packet]


October 2 Energy News

October 2, 2014

Science and Technology:

¶   SunEdison announced that its advanced polysilicon technology is now in production and on target to produce solar material at low cost. The company claims this development is a step-change in technology and will it enable it to deliver a 400 watt peak solar panel at a cost of $0.40 per watt peak by 2016. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

World:

¶   Sweden’s Social Democrats and Green Party are set to offer more support for renewables and move away from nuclear under a coalition government. The two parties could form a minority government as early as tomorrow, and will set up an “energy commission” to develop a strategy for an all-renewable energy system. [Recharge]

¶   Spanish manufacturer Gamesa is to supply CPFL Renováveis with 231 MW at nine wind farms in Rio Grande do Norte in north-eastern Brazil. The contract is for 110 of Gamesa’s G114-2.0MW turbines, which will be equipped with the company’s MaxPower technology increasing nominal capacity to 2.1MW. [reNews]

¶   In India, the government has signed a memorandum of understanding with a group of companies to build the country’s first ever offshore wind power project as part of New Delhi’s pledge to increase renewable energy sources. The 100 MW plant will lie off the coast of Gujarat and be partly financed by state subsidies. [Businessworld]

¶   The third largest city in Germany, Munich, has become a world leader in sustainability. Munich is aiming for 100% renewable electricity by 2025 – just 11 years away now. If Munich achieves its goal, it could become the first city with a population of over a million to do so. [The9Billion]

¶   In a first for Australia, a council has voted to make on-site clean power generation on all new homes and some commercial buildings compulsory. The City of Nedlands in Perth has led the way in turning more of the vast ocean of under-utilised rooftops in Australia’s towns and cities into power generators. [Energy Matters]

US:

¶   EDF Renewable Energy and Microsoft Corporation celebrated the launch of the Pilot Hill Wind Project with a groundbreaking ceremony. Located 60 miles southwest of Chicago in Kankakee and Iroquois counties, the 175 MW wind project is expected to begin commercial operation early in 2015. [Rock Hill Herald]

¶   New Hampshire now allows group net metering. Thanks to this law, which flew under the radar when it was working its way through the statehouse, solar energy in the Granite State is set to boom. There are enough projects in planning stages to double the amount of solar power on the grid in just two years. [New Hampshire Public Radio]

¶   The president of the Natural Resources Defense Council demanded that the American Legislative Exchange Council immediately stop misrepresenting NRDC’s position on renewable energy, and urged the group to clear up other false claims, such as its insistence that it doesn’t deny the reality of climate change. [eNews Park Forest]

¶   Following intense outcry, the state’s electric company, Black Hills Power, has withdrawn a proposal that would have penalized customers who generate their energy through solar or wind systems, the Rapid City Journal reports. The proposed surcharge would have been a $5 to $20 per month. [NationSwell]

¶   Carbon emissions in the US increased in 2013 over 2012. The EPA laid the blame specifically on coal-fired power plants, which have been used more to power America’s electric gird this year because of price increases in natural gas, following very low prices in 2012 caused largely by the fracking boom. [ThinkProgress]


October 1 Energy News

October 1, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “Why Local Energy Ownership Matters” Solar and wind projects can mean big bucks for communities – but only if they keep them local! The number of jobs and economic returns for communities are substantially higher when electricity generation from wind and sun can be captured by local hands. [CleanTechnica]

¶   “How a Top Liberal State Is Creating an Electricity Market That Conservatives Should Love” Imagine an electricity market that gives small businesses and consumers the same ability to compete and make money that utilities have always had. The market simply prioritizes consumer-side distributed energy. [Energy Collective]

Science and Technology:

¶   The record-setting heat wave in Australia last year was “largely attributable” to human-caused climate change, according to a synthesis report released Monday. Heat waves in Japan, Korea, China and Europe were also “substantially influenced” by global warming, the report found. [Huffington Post]

¶    Synthetically produced hydrogen can store huge amounts of power. Germany will require about 30 TWh of storage capacity, when the nation is 100% renewably powered. Existing gas infrastructure can store up to 200 TWh in gas generated. Wind plants with the ability to store energy as hydrogen are already starting up. [Business Spectator]

World:

¶   Malmö, in southern Sweden, is the third largest city in the country. Various neighborhoods throughout the city are transforming from brownfield industrial sites into eco-friendly enclaves through the use of renewable energy, energy efficiency, green building and alternative transportation. [GreenBiz.com]

¶   A floating power station using the solar energy stored in Grand Cayman’s warm tropical waters could provide the first firm renewable energy supply capable of replacing diesel generators on the island. The project would be the world’s first commercial power plant using ocean thermal energy conversion. [Cayman Compass]

¶   Samsung Renewable Energy and Pattern Energy Group LP signed a 20-year power purchase agreement with the Ontario Power Authority for the 100 MW Belle River Wind project in Ontario. They will jointly develop, own, and operate the project, which will be built in Lakeshore, Ontario. [PennEnergy]

¶   Michael Renner, senior researcher with Worldwatch Institute writes that nuclear energy’s share of global power production has declined steadily from a peak of 17.6% in 1996 to 10.8% in 2013. Renewables increased their share from 18.7% in 2000 to 22.7% in 2012. [Domestic Fuel]

¶   A Korean province has a growing and power anti-nuclear campaign, and it is not merely another popular movement. The campaign has expanded from the city of Samcheok, the designated site of a new nuclear power facility, to include 18 city and county councils, the governor, and various civic groups.  [The Hankyoreh]

¶  The volcanic eruption of Japan’s Mount Ontake over the weekend may strengthen the argument of activists campaigning to keep the country’s 48 reactors shut. Japan’s atomic plants are off-line for safety checks as a result of the  Fukushima Disaster more than three years ago. [Businessweek]

US:

¶   Six new pro-EV bills were recently signed into law in California by Governor Jerry Brown. The new efforts to promote the use of electric vehicles include increase in direct incentives, measures to improve the ease of ownership, and the granting of special access to the state’s ubiquitous carpool lanes for EV owners. [CleanTechnica]

¶   A long-term plan to eliminate dependence on fossil fuels in Vermont’s capital of Montpelier is getting a boost from two new projects: one to install more solar panels at an insurance company and another to meet more heating needs with a new biomass heating facility. [BurlingtonFreePress.com]

¶   California Governor Jerry Brown has signed an Environmental Defense Fund-sponsored bill that accelerates the use of demand response, a voluntary, cost-effective tool that relies on people and technology, not polluting, water-intensive power plants, to meet the state’s rising electricity needs. [RenewablesBiz]

¶   The city of Lowell, Massachusetts has signed a contract through which Hampshire Power will supply electricity to about 31,000 residential and 4,200 commercial ratepayers citywide. The deal will provide Lowell ratepayers with renewable power at a rate that is 33% lower than the default grid power. [GazetteNET]

¶   The US DOE has drafted a federal loan guarantee opportunity that, if it goes into effect, could help provide $12.6 billion for nuclear power projects. The program would be available for advanced reactors, small modular reactors, uprates, plant upgrades, and fuel cycle projects. [Nuclear Street - Nuclear Power Portal]


September 30 Energy News

September 30, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “Did the UN Summit Shift the Dial?” The UN Climate Summit has come and gone and leaders from many countries have made announcements, pledges or at least offered moral support. But are we any better off as a result? Reflecting on the last few days in New York, I would have to argue for the “yes” case. [Energy Collective]

Science and Technology:

¶   Modern lithium batteries come with their own environmental baggage. Scientists at Sweden’s Uppsala University, seeking a more eco-friendly alternative, have created a new smart battery made from organic materials that they say produces just as much power as its lithium counterpart. Plus, it’s recyclable. [Big Think]

¶   “ALEC feigns leap off faltering climate denial bandwagon; Fools no one.” The American Legislative Exchange Council had a really bad week. Coming under fire for its climate denial, the typically secretive ALEC answered with a cringe-inducing position statement on climate and renewable energy. [Natural Resources Defense Council]

World:

¶   A week and a half after Scotland voted not to split away from the United Kingdom and the Government is already back on track, approving the Middle Muir wind farm for construction. The 60 MW Middle Muir wind farm is comparatively small, but illustrates the importance of certainty to investors. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Thousands of solar- and wind-power supporters across Australia turned out for protests at key federal government ministers’ electorate offices calling for “no reduction” to the Renewable Energy Target. In all, there were rallies at 30 locations around the country calling for the government to “accept the RET”. [The Daily Telegraph]

¶   In the Philippines, the National Renewable Energy Board has recommended an increase in the volume of wind power projects that may avail of tariff incentives. The NREB has proposed to the Department of Energy an increase in the installation cap for wind from the existing 200 MW to 500 MW. [InterAksyon]

¶   After finalizing the financial plan for the facility, Covanta, a US firm, has made a deal with Dublin City Council to construct, own and operate a €500m waste to energy plant, which will be designed to handle 600,000 tons of waste annually and generate 58 MW of energy. [Hydrogen Fuel News]

¶   More than 11 GW of renewable energy capacity have been installed in Japan over the past two years, when the country’s notable feed-in tariff incentive plan was launched, according to the country’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. Of this, 10.88 GW was solar power. [CleanTechnica]

US:

¶   The Tehachapi Energy Storage Project — the biggest battery energy storage project to date in North America — has now opened. The 32 MWh battery energy storage system built by Southern California Edison has lithium-ion batteries stationed in a special 6,300 square-foot facility in a substation in Tehachapi, California. [CleanTechnica]

¶   A 3-year, $6.3 million dollar project to improve every aspect of the American wind turbine production process/industry was recently begun via a partnership between Sandia National Laboratories, Iowa State University, and TPI Composites (an operator of a wind turbine blade factory). [CleanTechnica]

¶   The Sierra Club announced joining with Ratepayer and Community Intervenors to file a lawsuit in the New York Supreme Court challenging a Public Service Commission ruling. The ruling would add $140 million to residents’ electric bills to upgrade and expand a coal-fired power plant in Chautauqua County. [Triple Pundit]

¶   AllEarth Renewables and Claire Solar Partners have completed a 2.2 MW solar tracker farm in South Burlington, Vermont. JA Solar provided PV modules for the project. It is the largest in North America with distributed inverters and dual-axis trackers to maximize production. [Your Renewable News]

¶   One of the largest battery-based energy storage systems in the US, capable of running 2,500 homes, will soon be powering up UC San Diego. The system will be added to the school’s microgrid, which distributes 92% of the electricity used on campus. The battery will provide 2.5 MW and store 5 MWh. [NBC 7 San Diego]

¶   The Oregon Global Warming Commission has endorsed the Obama administration’s proposed regulations to reduce carbon emissions from power plants, while urging the Environmental Protection Agency to grant more flexibility to Oregon and other states to meet their targets. [Portland Tribune]

¶   On Monday, 17 anti-nuclear groups said they are preparing to file a federal court challenge if a recent NRC decision on waste storage at power plants takes effect. NRC commissioners voted to adopt a new rule that waste could be housed at plants’ dry-storage facilities indefinitely. [Nuclear Street - Nuclear Power Portal]


September 29 Energy News

September 29, 2014

Science and Technology:

¶   A new Copper-Indium-Gallium-Selenide thin-film solar cell conversion efficiency record was recently achieved by researchers at the Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research in Stuttgart. The new conversion efficiency record of 21.7% beats the previous record of 21%. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Chinese solar manufacturer JA Solar Holdings says it has attained 20% solar energy conversion efficiency in its multi-crystalline silicon solar cell, which it says is a world record for a multi-Si solar cell efficiency. This is just 9 months after it had set a previous record of 19% efficiency in its multi-Sci cells. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶   Brazilian auctions to be held in November received bidding applications from 1115 projects totalling 53.87 GW. Wind power has the greatest capacity share. Wind’s chief competition is from 39 combined cycle gas projects totalling 20.61 GW and 224 solar photovoltaic projects totalling 6.1 GW. [Windpower Monthly]

¶   Cutting the renewable energy target will leave Australians reliant on natural gas and drive up electricity bills, a group of consumer and community advocates say. They have written to prime minister Tony Abbott urging him to reject recommendations of a review that called on the government to cut the target. [Echonetdaily]

¶   Two Japanese utilities, responsible for about a fifth of the nation’s power, say they have had their fill of renewable energy, in a move that could add pressure on community leaders to allow idled nuclear reactors back on line. There have been 68,000 MW of solar power licensed, and the utilities claim they fear instability of the grid. [Financial Times]

¶   Britain’s first ever floating solar panel project has just been built in Berkshire. The 800-panel green energy project was installed earlier this month on a reservoir at Sheeplands Farm, a 300-acre soft fruit farm near Wargrave. The project will supply 200 kW. The developer says larger systems could be easily built. [Telegraph.co.uk]

¶   Saskatchewan’s government-owned power utility is set to launch a carbon-capture-and-storage project this week. SaskPower says it is the world’s first and largest commercial-scale, carbon-capture operation of its kind. It will capture carbon dioxide emissions from burning coal to store them deep underground. [Financial Post]

US:

¶   Solar Frontier, the solar arm of Japanese oil refiner Showa Shell Sekiyu, has revealed bold plans to build a solar manufacturing facility in Buffalo, upstate New York. The company was attracted by low solar costs that make PV in the US an attractive energy option for many. [pv magazine]

¶   A 1.8 MW solar project has been installed in New Bedford, Massachusetts. In all, 16.25 MW of projects are now installed or under construction. When all 16 MW of projects are completed New Bedford will have exceeded the city’s 2011 goal of purchasing 10 MW of power from renewable sources within five years. [SouthCoastToday.com]

¶   Panda Power Funds and Texas officials gathered to dedicate the company’s 758 MW natural gas-fueled, combined-cycle power plant in Temple, Texas. The plant is one of the most advanced gas-fueled power stations in the nation, establishing new standards within its class. [Today's Energy Solutions]

¶   Carbon emissions in the US are higher than expected for 2014. Carbon dioxide emissions due to the consumption of coal were more than 12% higher during the first half of 2014 than during the first six months of 2012, while those from natural gas and petroleum rose by 7.3% and 0.8% respectively. [Business Green]

¶   Unsatisfied with the pace at which the federal government is acting to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, several US states are forging ahead with their own initiatives. The first year of the California program was a resounding success, with the state’s economy expanding while at the same time adding renewable energy. [OilPrice.com]

¶   In Oregon, the Department of Transportation is building solar stations along the roads. It has already built two solar stations and is looking into a third, built without state money and on property already owned by the state and cleared for development as highway right-of-way. [Construction Equipment Guide]


September 28 Energy News

September 28, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “INSIGHT-Taxes, fees: the worldwide battle between utilities and solar” It’s still less than one percent of energy capacity worldwide, but the surge in installations of rooftop solar panels is beginning to hit utilities and their business model of charging customers on the basis of consumption. [Reuters]

¶   “Will US-India Summit Bring Historic Climate Action?” This week’s meeting of President Obama and Indian Prime Minister Modi is an opportunity to accelerate climate action in economically advantageous ways for both countries and for the world, if they take immediate action to curb climate change. [Natural Resources Defense Council]

Science and Technology:

¶   Concrete is the most-used construction material in the world and a major contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions. But by using a different chemical formula to make the material, new research suggests it’s possible to significantly reduce concrete’s carbon footprint. [Scientific American]

¶   “7 Ways Energy Efficiency Affects National Security” Whether electricity, natural gas, or gasoline, the American economy wastes most of the energy it consumes. That waste puts our national security at risk by making the US more vulnerable to instability abroad and economic disruptions at home. [Care2.com]

World:

¶   The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is providing a $25 million loan for the construction and development of SunEdison’s 20 MW solar photovoltaic power plant in Jordan to help address the country’s energy shortages through utilizing its world-class solar resource. [Utilities-ME.com]

¶   The Asian Development Bank has agreed to finance a $65 million private sector power project being set up on Pakistan’s Poonch river, upstream from Mangla Dam. The project envisages construction and operation of a 102 MW run-of-the river hydroelectric generation facility. [DAWN.com]

¶   In an unprecedented speech delivered on behalf of the king of Morocco, the country’s prime minister denounced the long-term consequences of colonialism. He pointed to Morocco’s pioneering efforts at developing human resources as well as renewable energy, including solar and wind power. [Morocco World News]

¶   A flurry of meetings between the president of South Africa and his Russian counterpart, and the lack of detail on the nature of their discussions, have contributed to a growing sense of disquiet over the deal that would have Russia build nuclear plants in South Africa. Some are warning that it is too early to commit to nuclear. [Independent Online]

US:

¶   Elon Musk will soon be building what amounts, essentially, to being another “Gigafactory”, in New York State as per a recent agreement with the government there. This time it is a manufacturing plant that will produce more than a gigawatt of solar panels a year. [CleanTechnica]

¶   The proposed $8 billion California wind energy project could blow the socks off the regional renewable energy market. The key to the project, the thing that helps fulfill the Los Angeles vision of a sustainable, secure energy source, would be a massive compressed air energy storage system using salt caverns in Utah. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Federal energy regulators have given final approval for construction of a 330-mile electric transmission line to carry lower-cost Canadian hydroelectric power to New York City. Supporters say the line will make the state less bound to the Indian Point nuclear power plant in Westchester County. [Oneida Dispatch]


September 27 Energy News

September 27, 2014

Science and Technology:

¶   A new study found that in the long run, natural gas does little to curb emissions since it would boost consumption (high supply means it will be cheaper) and displace renewable energy. Even without the methane leaks, the overall climate benefits of gas are likely to be small. [ZME Science]

World:

¶   In Scotland, a new wind farm will have the potential to power 28,000 homes in South Lanarkshire and will generate community benefit funding of £6.37 million over its lifetime. It is noteworthy that it will have the tallest turbines in the UK at a height of 152 metres (500 ft). [Scotsman]

¶   The International Energy Agency says the global renewable expansion will slow over the next 5 years unless lawmakers provide clear conditions and policy certainty. Future investments are likely to fall from the $250 billion in 2013 and the pace of development likely to slow even though technology costs continue to fall. [Breaking Energy]

¶   Penetration rates of no-carbon generation have increased from 50% to 56% in recent years in Europe, as European Union countries work toward renewable energy and greenhouse gas emissions targets. Renewable generation and nuclear generation are both considered no-carbon sources. [Energy Collective]

¶   Fresh statistics from the Department of Energy and Climate Change estimate renewables met a record-breaking 46.4% of electricity use in 2013, up from 39.9% in 2012. The Scottish government says this indicates Scotland is on track to meet its targets of 50% by 2015, and 100% by 2020. [Utility Products]

¶   The UK government is pressing ahead with plans to allow shale gas companies to drill under people’s homes without their consent despite 99% of respondents opposing the consultation proposals. It would change the trespass laws for shale and geothermal developers. [Business Green]

¶   An Austrian minister is calling on the European Court of Justice to prevent the UK from pursuing its plan to pay a guaranteed price to EDF for energy produced at the Hinkley point nuclear power plant. He would support any legal action to annul any decision to support the plan at the European Court of Justice. [PennEnergy]

US:

¶   Officials in the California community of Victor Valley on Friday unveiled what is claimed to be the United States’ first carbon-neutral wastewater treatment plant. Biogas produced from food waste and sewage powers the plant while keeping tons of garbage out of landfills. [TakePart]

¶   Activists delivered 6,000 cards and letters to the state New Mexico regulators asking for more renewable energy in a plan to replace coal-fired power from the San Juan Generating Station. The owner is seeking to use natural gas, nuclear, and increased capacity in remaining coal-fired units in addition to solar. [Bakken.com]

¶   According to the latest Monthly Energy Review put out by the US Energy Information Administration, the US dumped significantly more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere in the first half of 2014 than it did in the same period over the previous two years, reversing a decline in emissions from 2010-2012. [KCET]

¶   As increasing levels of solar, wind, geothermal and biomass are integrated onto the grid, utility hiring is impacted. Solar, however, has the most employment, averaging 41 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees per 100 MW of PV interconnections vs. 12 FTEs per 100 MW of total renewable capacity. [Fierce Energy]

¶   A collaborative study of Long Island’s offshore wind resources is underway for the development of the Deepwater ONE project, a 210 MW offshore wind farm to be located approximately 30 miles east of Montauk, proposed by Deepwater Wind in response to a request for proposals for renewable energy. [Fierce Energy]

¶   In the State of New York, a looming power supply shortage is spurring regulatory action to support a smarter, less centralized and more robust power grid. The initiative could revolutionize the utility industry in that state, while solving the supply problem — in both a functional and business sense. [Energy Collective]

¶   Entergy expects to complete a detailed decommissioning site assessment for the Vermont Yankee plant in the next 30 days. Also, Entergy has slightly revised its schedule for moving the plant’s spent fuel into more-stable dry cask storage, saying it will be done by 2020. [Brattleboro Reformer]


September 26 Energy News

September 26, 2014

A Quote for the Day:

¶   “Climate action is not just a defensive play, it advances the ball. We can turn our challenge into an opportunity to modernize our power sector, and build a low-carbon economy that’ll fuel growth for decades to come,” Environmental Protection Agency Gina McCarthy told Resources for the Future, a non-profit research group. [USA TODAY]

Science and Technology:

¶   The first net zero energy sky scraper is being built in Jakarta, the capital and the largest city in Indonesia. Scheduled to be ready for inauguration in 2019, the 99-story building will include a mosque, a sports center and a 2000 seat auditorium for performing arts. It will be powered by wind, solar and geothermal energy. [Archinect]

¶   A new report from Navigant Research examines the global demand response market with a focus on two key sectors: commercial/industrial and residential. The report says the total worldwide capacity of demand response programs is expected to grow from 30.8 GW in 2014 to more than 196.6 GW by 2023. [Transmission and Distribution World]

World:

¶   Welsh tidal power developer Tidal Energy has signed an energy-supply deal with EDF, becoming one of the first tidal ventures in the world securing its spot in the grid. The Power Purchase Agreement provides a guarantee that EDF will purchase electricity and renewable certificates at a pre-agreed price during the first year of operations. [E&T magazine]

¶   WRB Enterprises has secured a solar supply contract with the Jamaican Public Service Company grid for a 20 MW PV project scheduled for completion in 2015. Construction on the project will begin within 60 days, with WRB subsidiary Content Solar overseeing the completion of the $60 million plant. [pv magazine]

¶   It is approximated that there is about 29 gigawatts of electricity that can be produced via geothermal energy sources in Indonesia, but only about 5%, or roughly 1,340 megawatts, of the country’s geothermal resources are currently utilized. By the end of 2014, three new geothermal plants will be operational. [Hydrogen Fuel News]

¶   In the UK, the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s quarterly energy statistics show gas partially replaced coal power between May and July this year. Low carbon energy sources such as wind, solar and nuclear generated almost 5% more electricity than in the same three months last year. [Carbon Brief]

¶   A new pan-European offshore wind cost-cutting initiative has been launched aiming to spearhead grid-connection of at least 30 GW of projects in UK, Danish and German waters by 2025. The venture seeks to achieve a levelized cost of energy below £100/MWh ($163/MWh) through knowledge management and other cost reductions. [Recharge]

¶   The global offshore wind power market is expected to significantly grow from 7.1 GW in 2013 to 39.9 GW by 2020 as more countries get involved, says GlobalData. The company’s latest report also revealed that the global offshore wind energy space registered substantial growth between 2006 and 2013, rising from 0.9 GW to 7.1GW. [Maritime Journal]

¶   The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) paper predicts an “auspicious future” for sustainable biomass, outlining that total biomass demand could reach 108 exajoules worldwide by 2030, which would represent 60% of total global renewable energy use, if its full potential is realized. [Business Green]

US:

¶   Following Google, Facebook has cut ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council, bringing the number of corporations that have done so to at least 87. Facebook and Google’s high-profile departure from ALEC will likely put pressure on corporations still sending funds to the conservative group, such as Yahoo and eBay. [Business Spectator]

¶   According to a new report from Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, utilities and their shareholders could see substantial declines in revenues as solar penetrations increase – assuming they don’t seize the solar opportunity themselves. Solar reduces both utility power sales and new equity investment. [Greentech Media]

¶   A new report by the Energy Information Administration shows that the Texas power grid has been catching up with added windpower capacity in the state, as a massive, multi-year, multi-billion dollar infrastructure upgrade has been taking effect. This cut the number of curtailments and negative pricing events in Texas. [RenewablesBiz]

¶   The state of Vermont has received 26 requests totaling more than $6 million, for the first $2 million in funding that will be distributed from the Windham County Economic Development Fund. The fund was established after Entergy Vermont Yankee signed an agreement with the state regarding closing the nuclear power plant. [Brattleboro Reformer]


September 25 Energy News

September 25, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “Can energy utilities keep their customers, or will they flee the grid?” One of the great imponderables for the global electricity industry at the moment is to what extent they have a captive audience. For decades, most consumers have had no choice but to use electricity supplied through the grid, and were happy to do so. [RenewEconomy]

¶   “Wall Street & Main Street Vote For Clean Energy” When Congress returns after Labor Day, it will pick up the debate over the clean energy provisions in the tax extenders package. But, as in so many areas, Washington is behind the curve. The debate is over. Clean energy won. [CleanTechnica]

¶   “Why we won’t be getting any nuclear power plants from Russia anytime soon” South Africa’s Department of Energy recently issued a statement regarding a new partnership in nuclear energy. But let’s not get excited. Nuclear power is a diversion from the real issues in the energy sector – and the culmination of a whole lot of dreaming. [Daily Maverick]

World:

¶   Major new analysis produced by Australia’s ClimateWorks, along with Australian National University, shows that 15 of the world’s biggest economies can move to “net carbon zero” by 2050, and it need impose no extra costs over business as usual. In fact, electricity bills will be lower than what they are now. [CleanTechnica]

¶   A UN summit on climate change agreed to raise billions of dollars for developing countries in an effort to forge a wide-ranging deal to slow global warming. The one-day summit set goals to halt losses of tropical forests by 2030 and hike the share of electric vehicles in cities to 30% of new vehicle sales by 2030. [Times of Malta]

¶   Kyushu Electric Power, the utility on the southwestern Japanese island of Kyushu, says it will temporarily stop reviewing grid-access applications from renewables developers until it can determine how much more capacity it can accept. The utility will continue to accept grid-access applications for home systems below 10 kW in size. [Recharge]

¶   A day after world leaders gathered for a United Nations Climate Summit in an attempt to garner the political will needed to confront climate change, New York’s Empire State Building played host Wednesday to an alliance of civil society, private sector and diplomatic leaders planning a transition to a carbon-neutral future. [Al Jazeera America]

¶   The world needs to more than double its annual investment in renewable energy by 2030 in order to achieve the target to restrict global rise in temperature of 2° C by the end of the century, the International Renewable Energy Agency has stated in one of recently published reports. [CleanTechnica]

US:

¶   Continued growth of wind energy in Iowa places it ahead of other states in meeting a proposed rule that would require existing power plants to cut carbon emissions. Iowa would be required to cut carbon emissions 16% by 2030, under the proposed rule, but that  target is lower than the 30% national average. [DesMoinesRegister.com]

¶   New Jersey’s Public Service Electric & Gas has begun building a 10.14-MW solar farm at a landfill in Bordentown. It will be the biggest system of solar arrays yet to be built in New Jersey by the utility. The solar system at the capped former garbage dump complies with an initiative to develop landfills and brownfields. [NJ Spotlight]

¶   A proposed $1.5 billion energy storage site in rural Utah that is part of a larger, ambitious clean energy initiative would be an economic boon to the state and could potentially make the area a hub for similar projects, state officials said Wednesday. The Millard County facility is about 130 miles southwest of Salt Lake City. [Reading Eagle]

¶   A group of wealthy businessmen with ties to the Obama political machine has put out an email blast asking Americans to submit public comments to the EPA in favor of the president’s “aggressive plan to tackle climate change.” The EPA is accepting comments from the public through December 1. [WND.com]


September 24 Energy News

September 24, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “300,000-Plus People March for Climate Action, In Pictures” The Sunday morning rush hour is not usually known for packing people into subway cars like sardines. But September 21, 2014 was not your average Sunday commute as hundreds of thousands showed up for the People’s Climate March. [Scientific American]

¶   “A strong economy depends on climate action” When we act on climate, we seize an opportunity to retool and resurge with new technologies, new industries and new jobs. We owe it to our kids not just to act, but to lead. When we do, we’ll leave them a cleaner, safer and opportunity-rich world for generations to come. [The Hill]

¶   “Climate action – who is stopping us?” Fossil fuel industries are the only obstacle to a safe future and a stable climate, says Greenpeace International executive director Kumi Naidoo. But even the rich in industrialized countries know that they can’t hide from devastating climate change in their gated communities. [eco-business.com]

Science and Technology:

¶   Growing use of natural gas fails to benefit the environment because it slows the spread of renewable energy sources, according to a study released today. While natural gas releases less carbon dioxide than coal when burned to produce electricity, it hampers growth of cleaner energy such as wind and solar. [Mynextfone]

World:

¶   The Ernst & Young Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index ranks 40 markets worldwide on the attractiveness of their renewable energy investment and deployment opportunities. China is in first place, ahead of the US. Political uncertainty in the UK and Australia have dropped them in the rankings. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Mexico is facing an energy problem. A growing population and an expanding middle class are driving energy demand to increase 4% per year.  Mexico has a 60 GW energy demand, but that number will expand to 110 GW by 2024. And they want to solve this dreary problem with renewables. [Energy Collective]

¶   David Cameron announced at the Climate Summit that shale gas is part of Britain’s solution to tackling global climate change. Friends of the Earth however slammed Mr Cameron’s speech saying promoting fracking at a climate change summit “is like trying to sell cigarettes at a hospital.” [Energy Live News]

¶   The sub-Saharan African region is set to commission 1.8 GW of renewable power capacity in 2014. The region is emerging as an “exciting market” for investments in renewable energy technology such as onshore wind, small-scale and utility-scale solar and geothermal power. [African Review]

¶   In New Zealand, the new chief executive of the country’s Petroleum Exploration and Production Association told Radio New Zealand this morning that his industry is ready and willing to adapt to “the transition that we know will ultimately occur.” This leaves political climate change deniers out in the cold. [Scoop.co.nz]

US:

¶   Black Oak Wind Farm, LLC has just opened a new equity investment round for New York residents and companies, to join the existing investors in owning a group of 7 GE turbines on a ridge in the Finger Lakes region. The purpose of the offering is to allow local community ownership in the wind farm. [Your Renewable News]

¶   An alliance of four companies say they have found an answer to an energy storage problem in an underground salt formation. The group proposes an $8 billion power project that would store power from a huge wind farm in Wyoming and deliver it to over 1 million households in Southern California. [NEWS.GNOM.ES]

¶   California Governor Jerry Brown has long helped promote regulations to reward power companies for how much energy they save and mandated that a third of electricity come from sources such as solar. His latest ambition is for 1.5 million zero-emission cars on state roads in the next decade. [Businessweek]

¶   Vestas Wind Systems A/S announced on 23 September 2014 they had received a firm and unconditional order in the United States for 55 V110-2.0 MW turbines corresponding to 110 MW. The order was placed by Duke Energy Renewables. The turbines will be installed in a wind farm in Texas. [Newswire Today]

¶   Decommissioning of the idled San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in northern San Diego County will cost an estimated $4.4 billion, according to a plan submitted Tuesday by majority owner Southern California Edison. The plan is said to be fully funded. [Times of San Diego]


September 23 Energy News

September 23, 2014

Climate Summit:

¶   At the United Nations Climate Summit, which begins today, the European Commission will formally recommend a 40% cut in heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 for its 28 member countries, its president said on Monday. Now, the US, China, and India need to step up. [Tribune-Review]

¶   A report by ClimateWorks and the Australian National University, which is being presented to the UN Climate Leaders’ Summit in New York, finds that deep decarbonisation could happen with existing technologies, and without major structural changes to the economy, bringing Australia to zero carbon by 2050. [eco-business.com]

¶   Australia’s Federal Government says coal will serve as an affordable, dependable energy source for decades to come, but the UN’s climate chief has questioned whether that is in Australia’s best interests long term and says that coal has no future in the world’s energy mix. [ABC Online]

¶   Some of the world’s biggest brand names signed up to a campaign to encourage major businesses towards solely using green energy. IKEA, Swiss Re, fashion company H&M, Mars, Nestlé, Philips, publisher Reed Elsevier, and private banker J. Safra Sarasin are among the firms joining the RE100 campaign. [Energy Live News]

World:

¶   Australia on Tuesday said it wants to dramatically deregulate its energy industry, boost domestic gas supply and cut renewable energy subsidies as it prepares to ramp up exports of liquefied natural gas. Australia is the world’s number 2 coal exporter, but the future for coal is looking ever more difficult. [Reuters]

¶   Coal India, which is the largest fuel producer in India, is planning to construct $1.2 billion of solar projects in the country in order to compensate for the carbon pollution emitted by its coal plants. Current solar projects being negotiated with the government come to 1000 MW. [Energy Business Review]

¶   The UK’s biggest coal power station has been accused of causing environmental damage as it moves to produce electricity from “renewable” resources. Drax in North Yorkshire is converting half of its boilers to burn wood, and environmentalists worry the huge demand for wood pellets will damage US forests. [BBC News]

¶   The South Australian Government says it will increase its Renewable Energy Target and aim for 50% of the state’s power to be generated by renewables by 2025. Figures from last financial year showed 31.% of energy produced in the state came from renewable sources, and the state has since passed its current target for 2020 of 33%. [Yahoo!7 News]

¶   GE’s 1.7-100 wind turbines will produce wind power in Morocco to help meet the country’s renewable energy goals. The agreement complements the government of Morocco’s Integrated Wind Energy Project, which aims to generate 2,000 MW of wind power by 2020 through an investment of $8.6 billion. [Today's Energy Solutions]

¶   Russia’s Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation announced on Monday that an agreement had been signed in Vienna with South African Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson for large-scale nuclear power plant development in SA. South Africa may install up to 9.6 GW of nuclear power by 2030. [BDlive]

¶   Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reaffirmed Monday that Japan will not restart its shuttered nuclear plants “unless safety is restored 100%.” He said at the World Leaders Forum, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, and that his government is looking to introduce renewable energy sources at a fast pace. [The Japan Times]

US:

¶   Google’s controversial decision to fund the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) was a “mistake,” company chairman Eric Schmidt admitted on Monday, saying the group is spreading lies about global warming and “making the world a much worse place.” [ThinkProgress]

¶   In a highly symbolic gesture with real bottom line impact, the Rockefeller family, whose fortune came from oil, has announced that its eight hundred sixty million dollar philanthropic organization will sell off its assets linked to fossil fuel companies and invest in renewable energy. [3BL Media]

¶   The latest Federal Energy Regulatory Commission data shows that August saw the US added of 68 MW of solar PV capacity for a total of 1510 MW for 2014 so far. This takes the total installed solar generating capacity in the country to 9.55 GW, which is 0.82% of total US energy capacity. [pv magazine]

¶   The Nebraska Power Review Board gave its approval to a wind farm in Webster County, a $150 million project expected to be made up of about 52 windmill turbines spread over 9,000 acres south of Blue Hill. The project, as planned. will generate 89.5 MW, enough to power 22,000 Nebraska homes. [Lincoln Journal Star]

¶   Frustrated with the congressional response to global warming, Houston mayor Annise Parker and the mayors of Los Angeles and Philadelphia vowed to set more aggressive targets for reducing their cities’ heat-trapping pollution while challenging others to do the same. [Houston Chronicle]


September 22 Energy News

September 22, 2014

Finance:

¶   Developers have begun to spin off their renewable energy assets into investment vehicles called YieldCos. These attract low-cost capital by appealing to institutional investors such as pension funds and insurance companies, who together manage more than $71 trillion in assets. [Business Green]

¶   A new handbook shows how forward-looking communities around the world are already moving away from reliance on fossil fuels and generating their own power with 100% renewables − while also becoming more prosperous and creating jobs. [eco-business.com]

Science and Technology:

¶   MasseReaction Inc. says its World Patented ViPARtm technology (Vertically integrated Photo Array Reactor) is the first industrial scale algae carbon capture technology that is sustainable on both environmental and financial levels. [PR.com]

¶   Dashing hopes and trashing projections, a new study shows global carbon dioxide emissions not only rose again last year, but are also on track to reach a new high this year, pushing the planet further toward irreversible climate change. [NEWS.GNOM.ES]

¶   In the past few years, to the surprise of many, both China and the US have taken major steps away from coal. This opens up a crucial window of opportunity to achieve what many thought was a lost cause – a peak in global emissions of heat-trapping gases well before 2020. [RenewEconomy]

World:

¶   Yorkshire Water has invested £56 million to increase the renewable energy being generated by the firm by nearly 80%. The investment is helping the company to generate an expected 75 gigawatt hours this year, enough energy to make over three billion cups of tea. [bdaily]

¶   Slowing demand for coal in China is a major financial risk for coal industry investors. Demand for coal in China could peak as early as 2016, as the country brings in measures to tackle air pollution and boosts its use of renewables, gas, nuclear power and energy efficiency. [Energy Voice]

¶   Saudi Arabia has announced it will build solar power stations in five regions by the end 2015. The solar power stations would be built by King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy, based in Jeddah, where there also are plans to generate power from landfill. [ArabianBusiness.com]

¶   Enough electricity for almost 5,000 homes could soon be generated in a mammoth solar power farm situated on Green Belt land less than one mile from Upminster, northeast of London. The solar plant will have 60,100 solar panels. [Brentwood Gazette]

¶   German wind turbine manufacturer Nordex has received its largest individual order in its home market to date, from developer PNE Wind for the 57.6 MW Chransdorf wind farm in eastern Germany. [Recharge]

¶   On Sunday, Japan’s new trade minister said the country would find it difficult to formulate an energy policy without nuclear power, given its lack of energy resources and the high cost of utilities for companies and households. [Daily Times]

US:

¶   A state group aims to form a new electric cooperative in Arkansas, a cooperative that relies on solely on solar energy. The cooperative aims to create group negotiating power for the purchase of solar energy systems. [KATV]

¶   With the UN Climate Summit coming up, major companies, including Big Oil, will make pledges to help fight global warming by cutting their heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions, protecting the world’s forests and reducing methane leakage from fossil fuel production. [Pensacola News Journal]

¶   Green Mountain Power is biting back after the Federal Trade Commission got a complaint asking that GMP’s claims and practices marketing renewable energy be investigated. GMP’s CEO points out that renewable power in Vermont grew from 10 MW to 150 MW in five years. [Fierce Energy]


September 21 Energy News

September 21, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “Errors and Emissions – Could Fighting Global Warming Be Cheap and Free?” Two reports both claim strong measures to limit carbon emissions would have hardly any negative effect on economic growth, and might even lead to faster growth. But will anyone believe the good news? [New York Times]

Science and Technology:

¶   Last month was the warmest August since records began being kept in 1880, according to NOAA. They also projected out scenarios for the rest of the year making clear that 2014 is going to be one of the very hottest years on record — and possibly the hottest. [Energy Collective]

¶   The Center for Biological Diversity has said the Earth is currently going through its sixth mass extinction of plants and animals. Now, researchers at the University of Georgia have concluded that species are going extinct 1,000 times faster than normal. [The Weather Channel]

¶   Australian battery technology developer RedFlow says trials of its zinc-bromine “flow” batteries shows that the technology is “cost competitive” in large-scale applications on the electricity grid. [CleanTechnica]

¶   The Germany-based Novatec Solar has commissioned a new solar plant that uses direct molten salt technology. The plant can operate at temperatures well above 500° C, resulting in a significant increase in power yield and an ability to act as baseload generators if required. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶   The largest self-use solar rooftop power plant in the Philippines was launched yesterday at a shopping mall in Laguna. The 700-kW Central Mall Biñan solar rooftop project is part of the country’s efforts to promote renewable energy and reduce dependence on coal. [Philippine Star]

¶   A march in London today to demand urgent action on climate change is one of 2,000 events taking place in 150 countries around the world ahead of a United Nations climate summit next week. Some 100,000 people are expected to get involved in New York City. [Daily Mail]

¶   On the eve of the UN Climate Summit, Desmond Tutu argues that tactics used against firms who did business with South Africa must now be applied to fossil fuels to prevent human suffering. [The Guardian]

¶    The world is running out of water resources. This threatens conventional electric supplies, as coal, gas, nuclear, and hydroelectric sources are all subject to limitations by the coming water shortage, because they all depend on water either for power or for cooling. [Motley Fool]

US:

¶   Consumers in 13 states and the District of Columbia could be overcharged $433 million in annual utility bill savings over the next three years, and $127 million annually after that point, because PJM is undercounting energy efficiency’s effectiveness in cutting power demand. [CleanTechnica]

¶   After years of advocating for wind energy and the importance of the Renewable Portfolio Standard, Kansas Governor Brownback says he is in favor of repealing the RPS. His opponent in the election says the repeal is intended to eliminate competition for the Koch brothers industries. [hays Post]


September 20 Energy News

September 20, 2014

Science and Technology:

¶   Rocky Mountain Institute’s Micropower Database documents the global progress of distributed, rapidly scalable, and no- or low-carbon generators. Its most astonishing finding: micropower now produces about one-fourth of the world’s total electricity. [Forbes]

¶   French investment bank Kepler Chevreux analysis says $100 billion invested in either wind energy or solar energy – and deployed as energy for light and commercial vehicles – will produce significantly more energy than that same $100 billion invested in oil. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶   The Polish town of Kisielice has received the European Commission’s ManagEnergy Award 2014 for its clean energy leadership. It is 100% powered by renewable energy (wind and biomass, to be specific). [CleanTechnica]

¶   Solar power program was a flagship project of previous Indian government. Now, the current government is all set to take it to a higher level. It is planning to double the target of the upcoming phase of Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission to 3,000 MW. [Oneindia]

¶   Work on Vietnam’s first nuclear power plant will not begin at the end of this year as originally planned, Deputy Trade Minister Cao Quoc Hung said Thursday. Construction was pushed back until 2020 or 2022 to ensure the highest safety precautions. [Thanh Nien Daily]

¶   Jamaica Public Service Co signed 20-year power purchase agreements with three renewable energy providers for projects that will be completed by the end of next year. The two wind farms have a combined capacity of 58 MW, and the solar farm’s capacity is 20 MW. [Mynextfone]

¶   Brazilian wind power developers registered another 55 projects with a total capacity of 1.4 GW for the A-5 auction that was rescheduled for November 28, Brazil’s energy planning authority, EPE, said in a statement. [Recharge]

US:

¶   Montana Governor Steve Bullock said Friday that his state can meet the Obama administration’s goal of reducing climate pollution while protecting energy-related jobs and avoiding the closure of coal plants that generate the bulk of the state’s emissions. [Reading Eagle]

¶   Consumers in The Panhandle could see long term benefits if one company invests in renewable energy. Xcel Energy wants to expand new solar resources that could power up to 200,000 homes by the end of 2016. [KFDA]

¶   Texas is a national leader in wind energy, with more installed capacity, more wind turbines, and more jobs than any other state. Potential for more job growth in this field seems likely, given the US DOE’s push for 20% of US electricity to be wind-generated by 2030. [Chron.com]

¶   Kansas’s first community solar farm will be the nation’s largest solar tracking community solar array, soon to provide 1.2 megawatts of locally-produced clean energy production available to Midwest Energy customers throughout central and western Kansas. [High Plains Journal]

¶   First Wind is starting  construction at the company’s Oakfield Wind Project, in Aroostook, Maine. It is the company’s sixth wind energy development in Maine and is its largest in New England at 148 MW. It will include 48 Vestas V-112 turbines. [Area Development Online]

¶   Used batteries from plug-in electric vehicles could help California meet its goals for energy storage, a report from the University of California, Los Angeles, and UC Berkeley law schools said. The EV batteries can be repurposed for grid storage when their automotive life ends. [Scientific American]

¶   The University of California higher education institution recently made the largest ever solar energy purchase in the US by a higher education institution, 206,000 MW-hours per year, as part of a new deal to power its many campuses and medical centers with renewables. [CleanTechnica]


September 19 Energy News

September 19, 2014

Science and Technology:

¶   Three out of four nuclear plants under construction world wide are behind schedule and over budget. Peter Bradford, former member of the US NRC, says nuclear power is too expensive for generating electricity and not an essential part of the world’s climate change strategy. [Your Nuclear News]

World:

¶   The decision by the Scottish electorate to remain within the UK leaves the way open for a number of projects that are dependent on UK subsidies to proceed. Independence would have required negotiation on energy with the remainder of the UK, creating market uncertainty. [Windpower Monthly]

¶   Ahead of a UN climate summit, institutional investors managing £15 trillion ($24.6 trillion) of assets are also calling on governments to phase out subsidies for fossil fuels, an estimated £370 billion ($606 billion) worldwide a year, five times the £60 billion paid in renewables subsidies. [The Guardian]

¶   So far, Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority has only deemed Kyushu Electric Power’s Sendai reactor in the southwest ready. An analyst with JPMorgan Securities Japan, says he thinks only half of the 48 reactors will come back, and that might take until 2018. [Businessweek]

¶   Small and medium businesses supplying renewable energy projects around Australia have jointly written to the government, urging it to retain the current policy, rejecting the recommendations of the recent Warburton review to cut the Renewable Energy Target. [Business Spectator]

¶   In a speech at the National Press Club in Canberra, Greens leader Christine Milne has called on Australia to commit to being “net carbon zero” by 2050, and commit to cutting emissions by up to 60% by 2030. She suggested introducing emissions standards to phase out use of coal. [RenewEconomy]

¶   One of the largest coal power plants in Germany — EON SE’s Wilhelmshaven hard coal plant on the coast of the North Sea — was recently forced to shut down for a week (or so) owing to the water inflow pipes becoming clogged with huge masses of mussels. [CleanTechnica]

US:

¶   The White House has unveiled more than 50 actions and commitments designed to provide a major boost to the US solar power and energy efficiency industries. The package is predicted to avoid nearly 300 million ton of emissions by 2030 and save consumers more than $10 billion. [Business Green]

¶   In an effort to expand on the rapidly growing PV market, the DOE’s Solar Instructor Training Network has a pilot job training program for veterans at up to three military bases starting this fall. The goal is to engage 400 community colleges to train 50,000 workers by 2020. [PV-Tech]

¶   Environmental groups are simultaneously praising Duke Energy for its investment in solar power while criticizing the utility for operating some of the dirtiest power plants in the nation. Duke just committed $500 million to solar, but still runs some of the nation’s dirtiest coal plants. [WCNC]

¶   Montana ranks second in the nation for wind energy potential, but currently isn’t even ranked in the top 20 for existing wind development projects. And instead of deploying windpower, it is maintaining one of the dirtiest coal-burning plants in the country. [MTPR]

¶   According to the CEO of SolarCity, within ten years every set of solar panels sold by that company will come with a battery backup system, and the energy produced will be less expensive that grid power. [Treehugger]

¶   Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA is investing in 540 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects nationwide. The money, $68 million, will come as loan guarantees and grants. [Clarksville Online]

¶   A report released by Environment America, a national federation of statewide advocacy groups, compares carbon emissions from US power plants to world power plant carbon emissions (all sources, all countries). The dirtiest coal plant in the US produces more CO2 than Sri Lanka. [CleanTechnica]

¶   The US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit yesterday rejected a petition from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to rehear a case ruling that  federal law does not permit the long-standing practice of paying big users not to use energy at peak demand times. [Crain's Chicago Business]


September 18 Energy News

September 18, 2014

Global Warming:

¶   On Sept. 21, a huge crowd will march through the middle of Manhattan in a loud and pointed reminder to our leaders, gathering that week at the UN to discuss global warming, that the next great movement of the planet’s citizens centers on our survival and their pathetic inaction. [Monterey County Weekly]

¶   A UN summit on climate change will see the world begin to seriously tackle global warming, UN climate envoy Mary Robinson said. “The message from the climate summit and the message going forward to Paris is that it’s not business as usual with a little bit of green attached.” [Tengrinews]

¶   A newly released report says an ambitious global plan to rid the world of fossil fuels – and generate half of the world’s new energy from renewable sources in just 15 years – could produce more economic benefits than costs, considering the anticipated boost to public health. [Slate Magazine]

Science and Technology:

¶   A Gamesa-developed ‘bat shield’ technology has been shown to reduce the number of fatalities at wind turbines. Research to date with US development partner University of Delaware reveals a drop of 90%. However, under longer-term data a reduction range of 30% to 50% is anticipated. [reNews]

World:

¶   Solar power may be the best weapon to counter India’s power crisis. The Telangana government is going to implement a new scheme under which solar panels would be attached to handwater pumps to convert them into dual purpose motor pumps in rural areas. [The New Indian Express]

¶   Atlantis Resources is ready to draw down cash for its MeyGen tidal array project off the north coast of Scotland after satisfying all conditions in a £51.3 million funding package. The largely public funds will enable works on the 6 MW phase 1a to get underway. [reNews]

¶   It has taken banks and financiers some time to get used to solar technology, a very safe investment. However, one promising development is news that Goldman Sachs is offering financing for solar PV projects in Japan for a lower rate than banks. [PlanetSave.com]

¶   The Australian Labor party has ruled out negotiating with the Federal Government to scale back the large-scale Renewable Energy Target. The Government is believed to be searching for a bipartisan compromise to scale back the green scheme. [ABC Online]

¶   The total worldwide capacity of demand response programs is expected to grow from 30.8 GW in 2014 to more than 196.6 GW by 2023, according to a recent report from Navigant Research. Demand response shifts part of the grid demand from peak periods to low-use periods. [PennEnergy]

¶   With more countries utilizing offshore wind potential, the global offshore wind power market is expected to increase more than fivefold from 7.1 GW in 2013 to 39.9 GW by 2020, according to research and consulting firm GlobalData. [AltEnergyMag]

¶   Enel Green Power announced it has started construction on a 61 MW wind power farm in Chile. The Talinay Poniente wind farm will have 32 wind turbines that will generate enough power to provide electricity for 60,000 households in Chile. [PennEnergy]

US:

¶   Clearly, politicians across the ideological spectrum are realizing that voters like clean energy. And for good reason, as wind and solar are big-time job creators and economic drivers, making them not just good politics but smart policy investments for any state’s future. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Large wind farms and solar plants are now cost-competitive with gas-fired power in many parts of the US even without subsidy, according to Lazard, raising the prospect of a fundamental shift in the country’s energy market. [Financial Times]

¶   Fifty-two months after NextEra Energy Seabrook nuclear power plant filed for a 20-year extension to its license, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has again revised its schedule for the application, with the decision date reset for March of 2016. [The Daily News of Newburyport]


September 17 Energy News

September 17, 2014

Science and Technology:

¶   For renewables power sources, nearly all energy inputs are original production and mitigating the waste from that production. More energy is produced than the fossil fuels used. Wind is the most efficient fuel for electricity, creating 1164% of its original energy inputs. [Wall Street Journal]

¶   MIT professor Fikile Brushett is working on taking the power generated by wind and solar, chemically lashing it to molecules derived from flora and fauna, and storing it in liquids until it’s needed to electrify our homes. The process may reduce costs of redox flow batteries. [PennEnergy]

¶   A recent study by GE and NREL shows that the entire eastern US grid could achieve a dramatic increase in wind penetration without suffering any major destabilizing effects, without threatening electric reliability, and without installing any costly energy storage. [Scientific American]

¶   Scientists at the University of Glasgow found a new way to make hydrogen that is 30 times faster than the state-of-the-art method, offering a solution to some common problems with generating electricity from renewable sources such as solar, wind, or wave energy. [Nature World News]

World:

¶   Australia’s coal industry is in a flap after an announcement from the Chinese government it would ban the import of certain types of coal. According to the Wall Street Journal, the directive is primarily aimed at low-grade coal mainly coming from Indonesia and Australia. [Energy Matters]

¶   The Kosh-Agach solar PV pilot power plant in the Altai region of Russia is now online. The 5 MW project is apparently the largest solar power plant to be installed in Russia to-date, and is serving as the prototype for a further four more such projects in the region. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Germany switched on Europe’s largest commercial battery plant on Tuesday, an installation powered by 25,600 lithium-ion batteries that will help stabilise the region’s growing supply of renewable energy. The €6 million plant is the size of a school gymnasium and stores 5 MWh. [Economic Times]

¶   New Delhi is going through a rooftop revolution because of a freshly-minted regulation by the power watchdog, the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission, which permits enterprises and residents to not only generate their own solar energy but also sell it to the grid. [Khaleej Times]

¶   Over the past 17 years, the German village of Wildpoldsried has invested in renewable energy projects that include 4,983 kW of photovoltaics, five biogas facilities, 11 wind turbines and a hydropower system. Now it produces 500% of the energy it needs and sells the excess. [Inhabitat]

US:

¶   The Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant has begun a gradual reduction of the electricity it generates that will end with the plant shutting down in December. The coast-down period will end the plant’s operating cycle as the nuclear fuel in the reactor is depleted. [WAMC]

¶   A heat wave that set year-to-date records for California statewide power use on Monday and Tuesday was thwarted by electricity infrastructure that has been upgraded in recent years and increased power from renewable energy sources. Over 10% of demand was met by solar power. [Press-Enterprise]

¶   The EPA announced it is extending the Clean Power Plan’s public comment period 45 days, making the new deadline December 1.The head of the EPA office writing the new rule said she still expects to meet the June deadline for making revisions to the rule based on the comments. [Journal and Courier]

¶   In the Vermont, the Green Mountain State, sunflowers are an emerging source of renewable energy. Sunflowers are grown on several farms and then harvested for their oilseeds which are then converted to biodiesel and livestock feed. [Examiner.com]


September 16 Energy News

September 16, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “Solar & Wind Power Can Be Cost-Competitive In Any Country, Says IEA” A new look at an almost-new report notes that the International Energy Agency says any country can reach a high share of renewable energy cost-effectively, mostly by relying on solar and wind power. [PlanetSave.com]

Science and Technology:

¶   This past August was the warmest since records began in 1881, according to new data released by NASA. The latest readings continue a series of record or near-record breaking months. May of this year was also the warmest in recorded history. [Huffington Post]

¶   Demonstration systems from Hawaii to the eastern banks of Canada are showing that a “fleet” of water or space heaters can act as a sort of fast-acting sponge that absorbs extra electricity on the grid, especially wind power, making the grid more stable and storing energy. [Environment & Energy Publishing]

World:

¶   The Legislative Affairs Office of China’s State Council released the first draft of the highly-anticipated revisions to the national Air Pollution Prevention and Control Law, providing hope that blue skies won’t always be so fleeting as they have been of late. [Energy Collective]

¶   A week before heads of state meet at the United Nations to discuss climate change, a major report on Tuesday from global political, environmental, and industry leaders says it’s possible to grow the world economy while tackling global warming. [National Geographic]

¶   Mainstream Renewable Power has signed an agreement with Swiss wind farm developer NEK Umwelttechnik to purchase the 225 MW Ayitepa Wind Farm in Ghana, which is under development. The project is expected to start generating power early in 2016. [Renewable Energy Focus]

¶   The government of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh has lined up three major projects to produce 2,500 MW of solar power in the Rayalaseema region of the state. A memorandum of understanding for these projects will be signed tomorrow. [NDTV]

¶   Finland’s economy minister has rejected an application from power utility Teollisuuden Voima to extend the permit for a new nuclear reactor in the west of the country, throwing the project into doubt. [Reuters]

US:

¶   San Diego has one of the highest adoption rates of electric vehicles in the world, and it is seriously fashionable to drive an EV in San Diego. The city has a notable milestone to celebrate this year with more than 10,000 EVs on the roads in the metro region. [CleanTechnica]

¶   The proportion of coal miners who suffer from progressive massive fibrosis, a particularly lethal an advanced form of black lung disease, has skyrocketed in central Appalachia in recent years, according to experts with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. [Huffington Post]

¶   A group of four Vermonters is asking federal regulators to force Green Mountain Power to stop marketing its power as renewable. They say by selling credits for green power to customers out of state to offset fossil fuel use, GMP is effectively making Vermont dependent on coal and gas. [Vermont Public Radio]

¶   REC Solar, a national leader in commercial solar system design and installation, today announced growing momentum across the state of Hawaii, with the completion of six solar energy systems for Hawaii’s historic Dole Plantation and W.M. Keck Observatory. [AZoCleantech]

¶   US electric power holding company Duke Energy has made a $500 million commitment to the expansion of solar energy in North Carolina. The company will construct three PV facilities – totaling 128 MW of capacity – which will be built in Bladen, Duplin and Wilson counties. [PV-Tech]

¶   With the passage of HB 4385/SB 2214 early last month, Massachusetts has joined New Hampshire and Wisconsin as the only states to provide incentives for the use of clean, renewable fuels to heat and cool buildings. [The National Law Review]

¶   A mysterious telephone poll asked questions of Vermonters about the potential continued operation of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. Neither Entergy, the plant’s owner, nor Green Mountain Power, Vermont’s largest utility, was involved. [Rutland Herald]


September 15 Energy News

September 15, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “Happy nuclear free birthday to the people of Japan” Every birthday is special – but today Japan is celebrating something unique. Japan has been nuclear-free for one year. One year ago today, the last commercial nuclear reactor operating in Japan was shutdown. [Greenpeace International]

Science and Technology:

¶   Wind farms can interfere with ground radar systems due to turbine blades returning a radar signal that can be mistaken as an aircraft or weather pattern. New technology is being used in some Vestas turbines to reduce problems with radar. [Energy Matters]

¶   The director-general of the International Renewable Energy Agency says in REthinking Energy — the first edition in a new IRENA series — that solar PV costs fell by two-thirds between the end of 2009 and 2013 – “a speed of change comparable to that seen in the IT revolution.” [eco-business.com]

World:

¶   At least 150 major companies worldwide – including ExxonMobil, Google, Microsoft and 26 others in the United States – are already making business plans that assume they will be taxed on their carbon pollution, a report today says. [USA TODAY]

¶   A pioneering new school project was opened in South Africa’s Gauteng Province. Harnessing the latest renewable energy technologies, the solar-powered internet school connects teachers and pupils to the internet, bringing them into the digital age. [The Guardian]

¶   Irrigators from around Australia have met to discuss how they can cope with rising electricity prices. Power prices in most Australian states have doubled over the past seven years, with higher network charges making up much of the increased costs. [ABC Online]

¶   More than 15,000 Australian businesses have installed solar power to reduce energy bills, and there is the potential for tens of thousands more to do so if the RET remains unchanged, the Clean Energy Council has said. [EcoGeneration]

¶   Leading environmentalists from 44 countries have teamed up to call on foundations and philanthropists around the world to use endowments worth billions of dollars to turn the tide on global warming. [reNews]

¶   Eight UK wind power companies are launching a campaign aimed at dispelling myths around onshore wind power, specifically to convince MPs that it is the cheapest and one of the most popular forms of renewable energy. [Business Green]

¶   A controversial windfarm has been given the go ahead by the UK government. The Clocaenog Forest Wind Farm was given permission by the planning inspectorate to start work on the project. It will see 32 wind turbines erected in the Clocaenog forest near Ruthin. [News North Wales]

US:

¶   The U.S. Navy and the University of Hawaii have formed a partnership to work on a $2.5 million energy research project to come up with a power grid modernization strategy and action plan to meet the future needs of the Navy in Hawaii. [Pacific Business News]

¶   A new poll said 88% of Wisconsin voters support an increase in solar energy use, and similar figures were recorded for biomass energy and wind power. One prominent environmentalist says voters clearly believe using more renewable energy would lead to more jobs in the state. [Public News Service]


September 14 Energy News

September 14, 2014

World:

¶   The six Central American countries had a total solar capacity of 6 MW in 2013. The total is expected to reach 22 MW by the end of 2014. However, market researcher IHS believes it can reach up to 243 MW in 2015 and continue growing rapidly from there. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Electric utility executives around the world are watching developments in Germany nervously as renewable technologies they once thought irrelevant begin to threaten established business plans. Many in poor countries are considering skipping the fossil age altogether. [New York Times]

¶   The first renewable energy scheme in Scotland to draw heat from a river is set to be installed by the University of Glasgow in a bid to lower the university’s heating bill by a quarter. A heat pump will extract latent heat from water that is between 8° C and 10° C all year round. [Herald Scotland]

¶   In an effort to mitigate spiralling energy prices after the nuclear disaster at Fukushima, Japanese companies are pouring money into fuel-efficient technologies. Ireland’s Glen Dimplex’s fuel-efficient, energy-saving heating solutions have become a popular choice. [Irish Independent]

¶   India Power Corporation Ltd, a power generation and distribution company, is augmenting its renewable power procurement plans. It has also planned to add 200 MW of windpower capacity by the end of 2015. [Hindu Business Line]

US:

¶   A federal judge ruled last Thursday that BP acted with “gross negligence” in the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. This decision could result in the company paying an estimated $18 billion in fines. Most must be spent on restoring the environment and coastal communities. [Energy Collective]

¶   After a seven-year-long investigation, scientists at the National Audubon Society issued a grim report finding that more than half of the 650 or so bird species in North America may be threatened by global warming. [Canada News]

¶   The two Democrats who hope to regulate utilities in Arizona admit they face an uphill battle winning election in a Republican state, but they insist they are on the right side of the issue that resonates most with voters: renewable power. [azcentral.com]

¶   Google’s most recent investment in renewable power is in a project that sits on an old oil and gas field. It is Google’s 17th large investment in renewables and puts the company’s total tab at more than $1.5 billion on three continents for a capacity of more than 2.5 GW. [Forbes]

¶   Olympic National Park in Washington says that for the first time in more than a century, chinook salmon have been spotted in the upper reaches of the Elwha River following the recent removal of two dams. [KOMO News]


September 13 Energy News

September 13, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “Nuclear power – insanity at taxpayers’ and consumers’ expense” Nuclear power exists for one reason only, writes Ralph Nader – government support. Without the taxpayer subsidies, accident liability waivers and exploited consumers, nuclear power wouldn’t exist. [The Ecologist]

Science and Technology:

¶   The Archimedes, a Dutch renewable energy start-up is currently working on a novel wind turbine small enough to be mounted on the roof of a typical home, but which is still highly efficient at converting wind to energy and is nearly soundless. [Jetson Green]

¶   ABB has announced it will install its PowerStore solution, a commercial flywheel technology, to integrate with a battery system on Kodiak Island, Alaska, and enable the integration of more renewable energy from an expanded wind farm to the island’s microgrid. [North American Windpower]

World:

¶    Recently published analysis shows Chinese coal consumption fell for the first time this century in the first half of this year. Even more striking, China’s gross domestic product growth and coal consumption have decoupled, suggesting a structural shift in the Chinese economy. [Energy Collective]

¶   As part of its inaugural Rethinking Energy report, the International Renewable Energy Agency looks at some of the economic benefits that the now – it says – inevitable shift to renewables will bring. High among these is job creation. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Currently, Ontario gets 2312 MW of windpower, 4091 MW of hydro, and 159 MW of other renewable energy, for a total of 6562 MW of renewable energy. That means Ontario is getting 35% of its 19.000 grid load from renewable resources. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Indian Prime Minister Modi on Friday called for a solar-powered corridor along the India-Pakistan border in the deserts of Rajasthan and Gujarat, with two pilot projects of 5 MW being initiated as part of promotion of the renewable energy, specially the solar energy. [Free Press Journal]

¶   A wind farm which will generate enough electricity to power around 14,000 homes has officially been opened in Scotland. The £26 million Twinshiels wind farm has 10 turbines and adjoins Eneco’s Tullo wind facility – a seven-turbine development. [Energy Live News]

¶   Siemens, together with universities and local utility Allgäuer Überlandwerk GmbH, will for three years look into how to best manage energy systems with distributed renewable power generation, batteries, district heating, biogas plants and diesel generators. [Mynextfone]

¶   Chile’s Environmental Assessment Service has approved a 698-MW solar power development. The ‘South Campos Sol project’ will require $1.6 billion in investment and will be built over more than 2,000 acres in the Copiapó province, in the Atacama Region. [PV-Tech]

US:

¶   A state energy board gave conditional approval Friday to a $140 million wind farm that would rise south of Blue Hill in south-central Nebraska. The Cottonwood Wind Project would have 52 turbines and a capacity to generate 89.5 MW of power. [Omaha World-Herald]

¶   Minnesota Power’s rededication ceremony of the 4-MW 91-year-old Winton hydroelectric station. The electric power company is highlighting its recent investments in its 11 Minnesota hydroelectric stations this year with its Hometown Hydro Celebration ceremonies. [Tower Timberjay News]

¶   Renewable energy is helping Montana families and businesses take charge of their power supply like never before. There are now more than 1,000 solar arrays, small-scale wind turbines and micro-hydro generators producing clean energy in the state. [MTPR]

¶   A new poll found that a substantial majority of Midwesterners believe renewable energy is a reliable and affordable option that is not only an increasing source of good jobs, but is also a good way to ensure the country’s energy generation is self-reliant and secure. [CleanTechnica]


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